South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. [Photo by Yonhap]
The South Korean and U.S. governments have simultaneously issued warnings about potential military cooperation between North Korea and Russia involving arms deals and joint exercises.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for an “immediate end to attempts at military cooperation between North Korea and Russia that undermine the peace of the international community” during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) in Indonesia on Wednesday morning (local time), according to the presidential office.
Yoon’s public criticism of the two countries’ move came as news emerged that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin around September 12 to discuss an arms deal.
“North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats pose a grave threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as a direct challenge to the international non-proliferation regime,” Yoon said, calling on ASEAN to continue to support the international community’s efforts to achieve Pyeongyang’s complete denuclearization.
He urged ASEAN to actively engage in efforts to combat North Korea’s cryptocurrency theft and export of labor, a major source of funding for its nuclear and missile development programs.
“No UN member state should violate its obligations under the Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea, including the prohibition of illegal arms trade,” he emphasized.
Earlier, U.S. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged North Korea not to provide any lethal weapons to Russia, saying it will pay a price if it decides to do so.
During the ASEAN Summit Yoon also pledged to create new growth engines and address development disparities, contributing to shared prosperity within ASEAN, as well as emphasizing Korea’s commitment to supporting activate private investment in future industries such as digital, electric vehicles, batteries, and smart cities.
He also announced the launch of the “Korea-ASEAN Digital Innovation Flagship Project” in 2024 to enhance the AI and digital capabilities of ASEAN youth and jointly develop AI-based services.
“South Korea, the United States, and Japan, will coordinate their respective Indo-Pacific strategies and identify areas of cooperation based on their full support for the ASEAN-led regional architecture,” Yoon concluded.
By Park Yun-gyun and Minu Kim
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