U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, have jointly expressed “serious concern” over recent discussions of military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, including the potential for arms trade. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday detailing the meeting between Blinken, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
In their discussions, the officials agreed to take a strong stance against any actions that could threaten regional security and violate United Nations Security Council resolutions. The concern stems from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent weeklong visit to Russia, during which he discussed military cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
U.S. and South Korean officials have voiced apprehension that the summit could provide Russia with access to ammunition from North Korea to support its ongoing conflict in Ukraine. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has already warned that any assistance from Russia to enhance North Korea’s weapons programs in exchange for support in Ukraine would be seen as a direct provocation, and Seoul and its allies would respond accordingly. The situation remains a source of international concern and will be closely monitored by the involved nations.