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Yoon says N.K.-Russia military cooperation 'illegal, unjust': interview

16:17 September 17, 2023

By Kang Jae-eun

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol said in an interview published Sunday that military cooperation between North Korea and Russia is "illegal and unjust" and the international community will unite more tightly against it.

Yoon made the remark in a written interview with the Associated Press, a day before he heads to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly amid concern about deepening military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow after a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Military cooperation between North Korea and Russia is illegal and unjust as it contravenes U.N. Security Council resolutions and various other international sanctions," Yoon was quoted as saying. "The international community will unite more tightly in response to such a move."

Yoon also warned that the North will face "the end of the regime" if it attempts to use nuclear weapons.

"Our two countries (South Korea and the United States) reaffirmed that any nuclear attack by North Korea will be met with a swift, overwhelming and decisive response that will bring about the end of the regime," he was quoted as saying.

Yoon said the U.S. "extended deterrence," which calls for using the full range of U.S. military capabilities, including nuclear weapons, "will develop into a joint system in which both countries discuss, decide and act together."

"We will also enhance the ability to deter and respond to any nuclear or missile threat from North Korea," he said.

Yoon also rejected the notion that South Korea's relations with China could be hurt amid closer security cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo, saying the trilateral cooperation "harbors no intention of marginalizing any particular nation or establishing an exclusive coalition."

"All three countries -- the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan -- share a common understanding that it is important for China to play a responsible and constructive role not only in resolving pending issues on the Korean Peninsula and in the region but also in addressing global challenges," Yoon said in the interview.

President Yoon Suk Yeol is seen giving an address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York in this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2022, local time. (Yonhap)



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