Seoul warns Russia ‘rude’ remarks about Yoon’s North Korea policy would worsen ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin has deepened ties with Seoul’s rival, North Korea, since invading Ukraine in 2022. The United States and its allies have condemned what they say have been significant North Korean missile deliveries to Russia to help its war effort.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) welcomes North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui in the Kremlin on January 16. Photo: EPA-EFE/Sputnik

Yoon told a meeting on Wednesday of defence and security officials: “The North Korean regime is going through fire and water solely for the sake of maintaining its hereditary totalitarian regime, while blatantly ignoring international law and UN Security Council resolutions by trading arms with Russia.”

The next day, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Yoon’s remarks “blatantly biased”.

She told reporters the comments “look particularly odious”, given rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, “primarily due to the brazen policy of the United States and its allies, including [South] Korea and Japan”.

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Seoul’s foreign ministry on Sunday said Chung had met Russia’s visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko on Friday and conveyed Seoul’s stern stance on the military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow. Kim Gunn, Seoul’s nuclear envoy, also met Rudenko, the ministry said.

The statement said Chung and Rudenko also discussed issues including Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia’s foreign ministry on Sunday said that “an exchange of views” had taken during Rudenko’s meetings in Seoul with Chung and other officials.

“The Russian side has expressed serious concerns regarding the sharp escalation of tensions in the subregion,” it said in a statement.

“It was clearly stated that its main source is the irresponsible provocative policy of Washington, which, for its own geopolitical purposes, is trying to encourage regional allies to implement their aggressive plans, fraught with unpredictable consequences, including in the military sphere.”

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