SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea, the United States and Japan on Thursday strongly condemned what they say is North Korea’s supply of ammunition and military equipment to Russia, saying such shipments would significantly increase the number of victims. in the Russian war in Ukraine.
The joint statement from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo came days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mocked a recent US claim that the Kremlin had received North Korean munitions, saying he was unable to prove his claim. .
“We will continue to collaborate with the international community to expose Russia’s attempts to acquire military material from (North Korea),” indicated the note signed by the South Korean Foreign Minister, Park Jin; the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
“These weapons deliveries, several of which we can now confirm have been completed, will significantly increase the human cost of Russia’s war of aggression,” he added.
The joint statement seeks to demonstrate the determination of the three nations to actively respond to the arms transfer deal between Moscow and Pyongyang, which defies repeated warnings from the international community, Seoul Foreign Ministry spokesman Lim Soosuk told reporters. .
Recently, North Korea and Russia — which have separate conflicts with the United States and its allies — have taken steps to strengthen their military ties. Speculation about the possible shipment of North Korean conventional weapons to replenish depleted Russian arsenals was fueled last month when the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, traveled to the Russian Far East to meet with President Vladimir Putin and visit key military installations. .
The United States, South Korea and other countries believe the North is seeking to exchange its munitions for sophisticated Russian weapons technologies to improve its nuclear program.