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Kim Yung-ho calls for cooperation with Washington against N. Korea’s suspected arms deal with Moscow

Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho on Friday expressed concern over North Korea’s alleged arms deal with Russia. The minister called for strengthening joint efforts between Seoul and Washington to protect international norms during a meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Seoul.

Kim met with Ambassador Philip Goldberg for the first time since his appointment to the ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs. The meeting followed Kim Jong-Un’s visit to Russia last week.

The meeting between the Russian president and the leader of North Korea took place in Russia’s Far East at the Vostochny space centre. The meeting took place against the background of the world community’s concerns about possible military cooperation between North Korea and Russia. Kim Yung-ho said:

North Korea is taking this as an opportunity and supporting Russia with weapons. That is why in order for us to protect the rules and peace of the world, the United States and the Republic of Korea must cooperate.

Philip Goldberg shared the minister’s concerns over “what appears to be agreements between North Korea and Russia.” He claimed:

All members of the U.N. Security Council have the responsibility to enforce the sanctions that are in place, and any exchange of weaponry and ammunition of any kind would be a violation of such commitments.

Referring to the difficult human rights conditions in the North, the Unification Minister said that the administration of Yoon Suk Yeol would continue to provide humanitarian assistance regardless of the military and political situation, as it is closely related to human rights.

Goldberg notes that the U.S. is also willing to engage in dialogue with the North without preconditions, but it will require a regime that is “interested in negotiation and denuclearization.” He said:

We are deeply concerned about a regime in North Korea that spends its time and resources on building weapons of mass destruction rather than feeding its people.

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