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South Korea Considers Sending Arms to Ukraine Amid Russia-North Korea Pact

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South Korea announced on Thursday that it may send arms to Ukraine, in what can be regarded as a significant shift in its foreign policy.
source: Guardian

South Korea announced on Thursday that it may send arms to Ukraine, a move that can be regarded as a significant shift in its foreign policy.

This development followed the recent defence pact between Russia and North Korea, which has heightened regional tensions.

According to AP, a senior presidential official in Seoul disclosed this potential policy change just hours after North Korea’s state media unveiled the agreement’s details. It has been noted that this could represent the closest collaboration between Moscow and Pyongyang since the Cold War.

The timing is crucial, as Russia finds itself increasingly isolated over its war in Ukraine, while both Russia and North Korea face growing conflicts with Western nations.

According to the North Korean Central News Agency, the agreement stipulated that if either country is invaded and enters a state of war, the other must provide immediate military and other assistance using “all means at its disposal.”

However, the pact also required that actions must comply with both countries’ laws and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which acknowledges a member state’s right to self-defence.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement during a summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday, hailing it as a substantial enhancement of their bilateral relationship, encompassing security, trade, investment, and cultural ties.

In response, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office strongly condemned the pact, labelling it a threat to South Korea’s security and a breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The statement also warned that the agreement could damage Seoul’s diplomatic relations with Moscow.

“It’s absurd that two parties with a history of launching wars of invasion — the Korean War and the war in Ukraine — are now vowing mutual military cooperation on the premise of a preemptive attack by the international community that will never happen,” Yoon’s office declared.

During a United Nations meeting in New York, South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul criticised Russia’s actions, calling it “deplorable” that Moscow would violate U.N. sanctions against North Korea, which Russia itself had previously endorsed.

President Yoon’s national security adviser, Chang Ho-jin, said Seoul would reconsider the issue of providing arms to Ukraine to help the country fight off Russia’s invasion.

According to AP, ”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 joining U.S.-led economic sanctions against Moscow. But it has not directly provided arms to Kyiv, citing a longstanding policy of not supplying weapons to countries actively engaged in conflict.”

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