Seoul summons Russian envoy over mutual defence pact with North — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Seoul summons Russian envoy over mutual defence pact with North

Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un make a toast in Pyongyang, North Korea, 19 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / VLADIMIR SMIRNOV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un make a toast in Pyongyang, North Korea, 19 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / VLADIMIR SMIRNOV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL 

South Korea summoned the Russian ambassador to Seoul on Friday in protest at an agreement signed between Russia and North Korea earlier this week obliging them to provide immediate military assistance to the other if either is attacked, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

South Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Kim Hong Kyun, summoned ambassador Georgy Zinoviev to stress the agreement’s violation of UN Security Council resolutions and to argue that it would have a “negative impact on the regional situation and Korea-Russia relations”, Yonhap said.

However, Zinoviev warned South Korean officials that attempts at “blackmail and threats” against Russia were “unacceptable”, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Speaking with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yul on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in comments reported by Yonhap that the US would “actively support South Korea’s fair actions” against threats to its security and that it would consider “various ways to respond" to the threat posed by Russia’s deepening ties with the North.

On Thursday, South Korea’s National Security Advisor Chang Ho Jin said that Seoul would “reconsider the issue of arms support to Ukraine” in light of the agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang. Until now, Seoul’s policy has been to provide Kyiv only with non-lethal aid.

Putin told journalists during his state visit to Vietnam that South Korea had “nothing to worry about” as long as it was not planning any aggression against the North, but warned that Seoul would be making a “very big mistake” if it decided to send weapons to Ukraine.

“If that does happen, then we will also make corresponding decisions which are unlikely to please the current South Korean leadership”, Putin said.

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