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S. Korea observed military dealings between N. Korea, Russia months before Kim-Putin summit: official

15:09 September 20, 2023

By Lee Haye-ah

NEW YORK/SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea began observing military dealings between North Korea and Russia "several months" before the two countries' leaders met in Russia's Far East last week to discuss a suspected arms deal, a South Korean presidential official said Tuesday (U.S. time).

The rare summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin took place at the Vostochny space center last Wednesday amid concern the North could agree to supply ammunition for Russia's war in Ukraine in exchange for food aid and a transfer of weapons technology.

"Russia has said it is impossible that it carried out any illicit activity, but ... the Republic of Korea government has been constantly observing military dealings starting far before, several months before, the recent meeting between the North Korean and Russian leaders," the senior presidential official told reporters in New York, where President Yoon Suk Yeol is on a five-day visit to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

Yoon will use his keynote address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday to call attention to the illicit and dangerous nature of military dealings between Russia and North Korea, and urge a united response from the international community, according to his office.

"A united response could mean the united position of independent nations or the collective action of many nations, but for now, we need to sort through the lists of sanctions and strictly consider the actions we can effectively take, so we're discussing this issue with our ally and partners," the presidential official said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) holds talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch center in the Russian Far East on Sept. 13, 2023, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)



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