Russia ‘disagrees’ with Yoon’s idea that it must choose between two Koreas

Posted on : 2024-07-09 17:55 KST Modified on : 2024-07-09 17:55 KST
The comment came in response to remarks by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in an interview with Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands while holding copies of their newly signed pact establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership between their two nations following their summit in Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (TASS/Yonhap)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands while holding copies of their newly signed pact establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership between their two nations following their summit in Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (TASS/Yonhap)

Russia responded to cutting remarks by South Korea’s president on Monday, saying that it didn’t agree with the leader’s assessment that Moscow must choose between the two Koreas. 

Ahead of the NATO summit in Washington, DC, scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol gave an interview to Reuters, in which he said, “I hope that Russia will sensibly decide which side — the South or the North — is more important and necessary for its own interests.”

In response, the Russian Embassy in Seoul posted a statement on social media platform X on Monday expressing “disagreement” with Yoon’s remarks. 

According to Russian state outlet Sputnik News, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “We disagree with this approach.” 

“We support building good relations with both North Korea and South Korea, with all nations in the region,” Peskov added. 

At the same time, the spokesperson said it was “difficult to develop friendly relations with” countries that adopt hostile policies toward Russia, including “anti-Russian sanctions. “

In the aforementioned Reuters interview, Yoon said that North Korea is “clearly a menace” to international society.

“The future of ROK-Russia relations depends entirely on Russia's actions,” Yoon added. 

Yoon’s statements came off as a response to the recent treaty signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during the former’s visit to Pyongyang. Yoon seemed to be warning Moscow against ratcheting up military cooperation with Pyongyang into a formal alliance.

In response to Putin and Kim signing their pact to forge a “comprehensive strategic partnership” between their two countries on June 19, the South Korean government announced that it would reconsider prior decisions to not offer lethal weapons to Ukraine. Yoon’s statements ahead of the NATO summit marked the first time he directly addressed Moscow regarding its increasingly cozy ties with Pyongyang. 

By Hwang Chun-hwa, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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