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South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador Amid Escalating Tensions Over Moscow's Defense Pact with North Korea

Photo : AP

South Korea summoned the Russian ambassador in response to Moscow's new defense pact with North Korea, amidst escalating tensions marked by sporadic border incidents. The agreement between Russia and North Korea includes mutual defense assistance in case of attack, prompting Seoul to reconsider its stance on providing arms to Ukraine.

The diplomatic action came after North Korean troops briefly crossed into South Korean territory multiple times, prompting Seoul to fire warning shots. This occurred shortly after Russia and North Korea solidified their pact, causing concerns about regional stability.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun conveyed Seoul's concerns to Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev regarding the defense agreement and alleged military cooperation between Russia and North Korea. Details of the meeting were not immediately disclosed by South Korea's Foreign Ministry.

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The tensions were exacerbated by South Korean activists conducting leafletting campaigns across the border, aimed at disseminating anti-Pyongyang propaganda. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, condemned the activists and hinted at retaliatory actions, reflecting Pyongyang's sensitivity to external influence and criticism.

In response to previous leafletting, North Korea had launched balloons carrying trash into South Korea, prompting Seoul to resume propaganda broadcasts along the border, further escalating tensions. These incidents underscored the heightened state of hostility between the two Koreas, amid North Korea's accelerated nuclear and missile programs.

Meanwhile, South Korea, backed by the United States, is considering increasing support for Ukraine, including potential arms supplies, despite warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin against such actions. Putin cautioned against supplying weapons to Ukraine, urging South Korea not to view the defense pact as a threat unless it plans aggression against Pyongyang.

The situation remains tense as both Koreas engage in defensive preparations along the border, with South Korea observing increased military activities by North Korea aimed at fortifying its defenses. The developments highlight the complex geopolitical dynamics involving Russia, North Korea, and South Korea, with implications for regional security and stability.

June 21, 2024 1:12 p.m. 430

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