Seoul considers supplying weapons to Ukraine in radical shift; Putin issues threat

June 21,2024 864
Seoul considers supplying weapons to Ukraine in radical shift; Putin issues threat

South Korea may initiate lethal weapon deliveries to Ukraine in response to increased cooperation between Russia and North Korea. South Korea’s country’s government will review its position, according to Yonhap.

Any cooperation that directly or indirectly aids North Korea’s military enhancement is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and will be subject to international scrutiny and sanctions,” emphasized South Korea’s National Security Advisor, Chang Ho-jin.

Seoul will take appropriate measures. “We plan to reconsider the issue of arms support to Ukraine,” said Chang. At the same time, South Korea will maintain strategic silence regarding the types of weapons. “Specific measures will be revealed later, and it will be interesting to see how Russia responds, rather than revealing our plans in advance,” added the official.

South Korea will also impose additional sanctions on four ships, five organizations, and eight individuals involved in the transfer of weapons and oil between Russia and North Korea. “The government expresses grave concern and condemns the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between North Korea and Russia, which aims to strengthen mutual military and economic cooperation,” said Chang.

Putin did not take long to respond. The Kremlin leader threatened South Korea, saying that providing lethal weapons to Ukraine would be “a big mistake.” “If South Korea supplies weapons to Ukraine, they will not like the response. I hope they don’t do it; it would be a big mistake,” said the Russian dictator at a press conference in Vietnam, where he arrived to deepen strategic cooperation.

Until now, South Korea has only provided non-lethal aid to Ukraine under the Foreign Trade Act, which prohibits the export of weapons except for “peaceful purposes.” A change in this decision would be a radical shift in the country’s policy.

South Korea is one of the world’s largest suppliers of weapons. In particular, Poland initiated the process of rearming its Armed Forces based on Korean technologies since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, by concluding the largest military agreement in its history with South Korea. Foreign states consider South Korean military equipment reliable and technologically advanced, but not as expensive as systems developed by other countries, particularly the USA, according to Voice of America.

As a reminder, on June 19, the leaders of North Korea and Russia, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in Pyongyang, elevating relations between the two countries to an allied level.

The Russia-North Korea agreement on “comprehensive strategic partnership” indicates increased cooperation between authoritarian regimes and underscores the need for unity among democracies, said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Cover: Republic of Korea Army

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