N. Korean missiles have been sighted in Ukraine, S. Korea’s top diplomat says at UN

Posted on : 2024-02-26 17:02 KST Modified on : 2024-02-26 17:02 KST
The newly appointed foreign minister said Seoul was “deeply troubled” by emerging military cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang
South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul shakes hands with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Feb. 23, 2024, (local time) during his visit to the UN headquarters. (courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul shakes hands with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Feb. 23, 2024, (local time) during his visit to the UN headquarters. (courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul claimed in a senior-level UN Security Council meeting Friday at the UN’s headquarters in New York that North Korean munitions and missiles have been sighted in Ukraine.

During the meeting, which was being held on the eve of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Cho said the situation “not only aggravates human suffering but also risks further escalating and prolonging the war in Ukraine.”

“If and when it turns out to be the case that North Korea receives in return advanced military technology or oil shipments exceeding limits under Security Council resolutions, this would redound to North Korea's ability to threaten security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond,” he said.

This was the first time since South Korea began its term as a non-permanent UNSC member on Jan. 1 that its foreign minister attended an official meeting of the council.

But the meeting that day showed more signs of strains as countries diverged in their assessments of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. 

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné, and Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiyoto Tsuji all denounced Russia while attending the meeting on Friday.

In contrast, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya of Russia criticized Ukraine and the West, reiterating Moscow’s claims that the current “special military operation” is meant to protect Russians in eastern Ukraine.

In a later meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Cho explained about South Korea’s plans for activities as a UNSC non-permanent member and stated its intentions to pursue more active involvement with the international community on issues relating to the Korean Peninsula and North Korean human rights.

In particular, he asked Guterres for his cooperation on plans for contributing to areas including North Korea issues and cybersecurity when South Korea assumes the UNSC presidency in June.

Cho next traveled to Washington, DC, where he plans to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.

By Shin Hyeong-cheol, staff reporter

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