South Korea expresses ‘deep concern and regret’ following Putin, Kim Jong Un meeting in Russia
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern and regret” Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un defied the United Nations’ Security Council resolutions during their meeting on Wednesday.
“We express our deep concern and regret that despite repeated warnings from the international community, North Korea and Russia discussed military cooperation issues, including satellite development, during their summit,” said spokesperson Lim Soo-suk, via The Associated Press.
He added that “any science and technology cooperation that contributes to nuclear weapons and missile development, including satellite systems that involve ballistic missile technologies” go directly against the UN’s resolutions.
Lim pointed out that Kim’s delegation in Russia included several people sanctioned by the Security Council over involvement in North Korean weapons development activities, and said there will be “very negative impacts” on Moscow’s relations with Seoul if it continues talks with Pyongyang.
Washington has warned that the meeting between the two leaders could result in a deal to supply Moscow with ammunition for its war in Ukraine and North Korea with advanced weapons technologies, increasing Kim’s nuclear program.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that there will be consequences for North Korea if it supplies arms to Russia.
“No nation on the planet, nobody, should be helping Mr. Putin kill innocent Ukrainians,” Kirby said. If the countries decide to move forward with an arms deal, the U.S. will take measure of the arrangement and “deal with it appropriately,” Kirby said, adding that any deal improving North Korea’s military capabilities “certainly would be of significant concern to us.”
Kim Yung-ho, Seoul’s Unification Minister who communicates with North Korea, warned a potential arms deal between the two countries would only illicit “stronger responses” from South Korea, the United States and Japan, The AP reported.
During Wednesday’s meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East region, Kim vowed “full and unconditional” support for Putin in the country’s “just fight against hegemonic forces to defend its sovereign rights, security and interests,” seemingly referring to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kim also invited Putin to visit North Korea when it’s convenient, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday. Putin reportedly accepted the invite with “pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward” friendship between the two countries.
According to Russian state TV, Kim will take solo visits to an aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and to view Russia’s Pacific Fleet, universities and other facilities in Vladivostok during his trip.
Putin told reporters that the two countries have “lots of interesting projects” surrounding transportation and agriculture, and that Moscow is providing humanitarian aid to North Korea, according to The AP.
The Russian president avoided talks of military cooperation, only saying that the country is abiding by sanctions not allowing weapons to be obtained from Pyongyang.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.