NEW YORK/SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a stark warning against military cooperation between North Korea and Russia on Wednesday (U.S. time), saying any arms deal between the two countries would be considered a “direct provocation” against South Korea.
Yoon made the remark during a keynote address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, referring to concerns North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to an exchange of North Korean ammunition for Russian weapons technology during their summit in Russia’s Far East last week.
“It is paradoxical that a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, entrusted as the ultimate guardian of world peace, would wage war by invading another sovereign nation and receive arms and ammunition from a regime that blatantly violates U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Yoon said.
“And if North Korea acquires the information and technology necessary to enhance its WMD capabilities in exchange for supporting Russia with conventional weapons, the deal will be a direct provocation threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine but also the Republic of Korea,” he added, referring to South Korea by its formal name.
“The Republic of Korea, together with its allies and partners, will not stand idly by,” he said.
During his speech, the president also outlined a series of actions South Korea will take to help reduce global gaps in development, climate change response and digital access.
He noted that South Korea increased next year’s official development assistance (ODA) by more than 40 percent despite its policy of fiscal austerity and pledged to use the additional ODA to provide tailored development aid to recipient nations, particularly in education and training.
To reduce the climate divide, he vowed to increase South Korea’s financial contributions to the fight against climate change and launch a Carbon Free Alliance to promote the use of carbon-free energy sources, such as renewable energy, nuclear power and hydrogen.
Additionally, Yoon offered to use South Korea’s strengths in information and communication technology (ICT) to help developing nations’ digital transformation and establish global digital norms, including by soon unveiling a “Digital Bill of Rights” that presents a vision for an ideal digital order.
Noting South Korea’s election as a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council from 2024-25, Yoon also emphasized the country’s commitment to playing a responsible role in defending international peace and safety, and recalled his administration’s plans to provide a total of US$2.3 billion in short- to long-term aid to Ukraine.
Yoon also promoted South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in its southeastern city of Busan, saying the country hopes to use the event to share its experiences of growth and development with the world.