South Korea criticizes Russia’s agreement with North Korea


Lerato Khumalo

Russia’s partnership agreement with North Korea is setting off alarm bells in South Korea. Seoul is summoning the Russian ambassador.

South Korea’s government has officially protested to Russia against its new partnership agreement with North Korea and called for an immediate halt to military cooperation with the isolated neighboring country.

Two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to North Korea, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Seoul, Georgi Zinoviev, on Friday. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun conveyed the government’s position that it will work with the international community to take decisive action against any behavior that threatens the people of South Korea, the ministry said. North Korea has been illegally developing nuclear weapons and missiles for decades and is threatening to use them against South Korea.

Any cooperation that directly or indirectly helps North Korea to expand its military capabilities is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang, Kim was quoted as saying. The deputy foreign minister also warned of negative consequences for Russian-South Korean relations. “Russia should act responsibly.”

South Korea had already condemned the agreement between Russia and North Korea on a comprehensive strategic partnership, which both sides had signed in Pyongyang, on Thursday. The agreement also provides for mutual assistance in the event of war. From South Korea’s perspective, the agreement also aims to strengthen military cooperation.

South Korea’s National Security Advisor Chang Ho Jin had indicated that his country could abandon its previous refusal to supply weapons to Ukraine. Because of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, South Korea is participating in the financial sanctions against Moscow. However, it does not export military weapons to Kiev. Putin had threatened South Korea with severe consequences if it supplied weapons to Ukraine.