US, South Korea, Japan condemn North Korea-Russia military pact   

World News

By Aldgra Fredly 
Contributing Writer 

The United States, South Korea and Japan on Sunday condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the military cooperation between North Korea and Russia after the leaders of the two countries signed a deal last week. 

Senior officials of the three allied nations held a phone conversation on Sunday to discuss the comprehensive strategic agreement signed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

Under the agreement, signed during Putin’s visit to North Korea on June 19, each party is obliged to provide immediate military assistance to the other in the event of armed aggression against either of them. 

In a joint statement, the three allied nations denounced the agreement, saying that it “should be of grave concern to anyone with an interest in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global non-proliferation regime, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against Russia’s brutal aggression.” 

The three nations pledged to boost their “diplomatic and security cooperation” to counter the North Korean threats, with the United States reaffirming its “ironclad” commitments to defending South Korea and Japan. 

They also condemned North Korea’s continued arms transfers to Russia but emphasized that “the path to dialogue remains open” with the North Korean regime to resume talks on denuclearization. 

Putin said during his visit to Pyongyang last week that weapons supplies to North Korea would be a similar response to the West arming Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia. 

Commenting on the Russian president’s remarks, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday that the possibility of Russia supplying weapons to North Korea is “incredibly concerning.” 

“It would destabilize the Korean Peninsula, of course, and potentially give it – depending on the type of weapons they provide might violate UN Security Council resolutions that Russia itself has supported, which is why we will continue to work with our allies in the region – South Korea, Japan, others – to respond to the threat posed by North Korea,” he said. 

South Korea Considers Sending Weapons to Ukraine 

South Korea’s national security adviser, Chang Ho-jin, expressed “grave concern” over the North Korea-Russia agreement and said that his country will consider reviewing its position on arms supply to Ukraine. 

“We plan to reconsider the issue of arms support to Ukraine,” Mr. Chang told reporters, according to the Yonhap News Agency. 

Mr. Putin later warned South Korea that supplying weapons to Ukraine would be “a very big mistake.” 

“I hope this doesn’t happen. If this happens, then we, too, will make appropriate decisions that are unlikely to please the current leadership of South Korea,” he told a press conference in Vietnam on Thursday. 

The Russian leader added that South Korea should not be worried about the agreement he signed with Kim if the country does not plan any aggression against North Korea. 

South Korea, a growing arms exporter with a well-equipped military backed by the United States, has provided humanitarian aid and other support to Ukraine while participating in U.S.-led economic sanctions against Moscow. However, it has not directly provided arms to Kyiv, citing a longstanding policy of not supplying weapons to countries actively engaged in conflict. 

Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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