South Korea protests Russia-North Korea defence pact

The South Korean foreign ministry issued a strong statement urging Russia to immediately stop military cooperation with North Korea and comply with UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korea summoned Russia’s ambassador to Seoul on Friday to protest the recent defence agreement signed between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during Putin’s visit to Pyongyang.

The South Korean foreign ministry issued a strong statement urging Russia to immediately stop military cooperation with North Korea and comply with UN Security Council resolutions. This action underscores the growing regional tensions following the announcement of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea.

The agreement, including a mutual defence clause, has raised alarms in Seoul and its allies. Of particular concern are Putin’s comments suggesting potential military and technical cooperation with North Korea, including the possibility of sending weapons. Such actions would violate multiple UN sanctions imposed on North Korea due to its nuclear program.

First Vice Minister Kim Hong-kyun emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating that violating Security Council resolutions and supporting North Korea will harm our security and inevitably hurt Korea-Russia relations. The ministry also called on Russia to fulfil its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

This development comes against the backdrop of shifting geopolitical alliances. Moscow and Pyongyang, longtime allies since North Korea’s founding, have grown closer since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Putin’s recent statements in Pyongyang calling for a review of UN sanctions on North Korea further highlight this strengthening relationship.

In response to these developments, South Korea is reconsidering its policy of not supplying arms directly to Ukraine. This potential shift in stance has already drawn a warning from Putin, who called it a big mistake.

The situation remains fluid, with implications for regional security and international relations. As tensions escalate, the international community watches closely, particularly regarding the enforcement of UN sanctions and the potential for increased militarization in the Korean Peninsula.