S Korean leader warns Russia against weapons collaboration with the North

Kim met with Putin in Russia's far east. The two said they may cooperate on defence issues but gave no specifics, which left South Korea and its allies including the United States uneasy

South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk Yeol

South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk Yeol (Song Kyung-seok/Pool Photo via AP)

AP United Nations

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South Korea's president has sounded a warning to fellow world leaders about the recent communication and possible cooperation between North Korea and Russia, saying any action by a permanent UN Security Council member to circumvent international norms would be dangerous and "paradoxical".
Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Yoon Suk Yeol invoked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's visit last week to Russia, which is one of the five permanent members of the council, the UN's most powerful body.
Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia's far east. The two said they may cooperate on defence issues but gave no specifics, which left South Korea and its allies including the United States uneasy.
"It is paradoxical that a permanent member of the UN Security Council, entrusted as the ultimate guardian of world peace, would wage war by invading another sovereign nation and receive arms and ammunition from a regime that blatantly violates Security Council resolutions," Yoon told fellow leaders on the second day of the UN General Assembly's annual gathering of leaders. He had been expected to raise the issue.
Yoon said that if North Korea "acquires the information and technology necessary" to enhance its weapons of mass destruction in exchange for giving conventional weapons to Russia, that would also be unacceptable to the South.
"Such a deal between Russia and the DPRK will be a direct provocation threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine but also the Republic of Korea," he said, using the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "The Republic of Korea, together with its allies and partners, will not stand idly by."

South Korea has expressed support for Ukraine, which is fighting a war against the 2022 Russian invasion of its territory. At the G20 summit in India earlier this month, Yoon said Seoul would contribute USD 300 million to Ukraine next year and eventually a support package worth more than USD 2 billion.
"The nuclear and missile programmes of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea pose not only a direct and existential threat to the peace of the Republic of Korea, but also (are) a serious challenge to peace in the Indo-Pacific region and across the globe," Yoon said in his speech.
Foreign experts speculate that Russia and North Korea were pushing to reach arms transfer deals in violation of Security Council resolutions. Both countries are in major disputes with the West, and both are under international sanctions.
While Russian-North Korean cooperation is feared to fuel Russia's war efforts in Ukraine, it has also encouraged unease in South Korea, where many think a Russian transfer of sophisticated weapons technologies would help North Korea acquire a functioning spy satellite, a nuclear-powered submarine and more powerful missiles.
On Tuesday, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin summoned the Russian ambassador to Seoul, Andrey Kulik, and urged Moscow to immediately stop its military cooperation with North Korea, which he said would have a "very negative impact" on its relations with the South.
North Korea has been increasing its nuclear arsenal for years, ratcheting up tensions in the region as it threatens to use nuclear weapons in conflicts. It regularly conducts missile tests, particularly in the past year.
In response, Yoon and US President Joe Biden in April agreed to expand joint military exercises, increase the temporary deployments of US strategic assets and launch a bilateral nuclear consultative group.
North and South Korea split into two separate nations after a 1950-53 war, which divided the Korean peninsula. The two countries technically remain in a state of war 70 years after an armistice was signed.
Kim, North Korea's leader, oversees an autocratic government and is the third generation of his family to rule. He was preceded by his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011, and his grandfather Kim Il Sung, a former guerrilla who established the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sep 21 2023 | 08:19 AM IST

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