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Russia lodges protest to S.Korean envoy over Yoon's UN speech

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President Yoon Suk Yeol , left, poses for a photo with new Ambassador to Russia Lee Do-hoon after awarding him with a letter of credence at the presidential office in Seoul on July 26, 2023. Korea Times photo by Seo Jae-hoon

By Lee Hyo-jin

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a complaint to South Korean Ambassador to Moscow Lee Do-hoon, Thursday (local time), over President Yoon Suk Yeol's remarks against Russia in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, marking an escalation in a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Russia's Vice Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko met the South Korean envoy to point out Yoon's remarks made earlier this week referring to Russia's engagement with North Korea , according to Moscow's foreign ministry, Friday.

"(The remarks) have seriously damanged Russia-South Korea relations. Unfortunately, it seems that Seoul prefers to shape its policy toward Russia based on conjecture and speculation," the ministry said in a statement.

It also warned that such a move will "create an unfavorable atmosphere for the development of bilateral cooperation and lead to dissapointment."

Lee said he will promptly deliver Russia's position to the South Korean government.

During his speech at the U.N. meeting in New York, Wednesday (local time), Yoon issued a warning against military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, saying any arms deal between the two countries would be a "direct provocation" against South Korea.

"If North Korea acquires the information and technology necessary to enhance its Weapons of Mass Distruction (WMD) capabilities in exchange for supporting Russia with conventional weapons, the deal will be a direct provocation threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine, but also the Republic of Korea," he said.

Seoul's Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin summoned Russian Ambassador to Seoul Andrey Kulik, Monday, to protest Russia's military ties with North Korea.

During the meeting, Chang called on Moscow to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and immediately end its moves to strenghthen military ties with North Korea.

Bilateral relations between South Korea and Russia have been showing signs of deterioration since Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome space center in Russia's Far East last week.

In response to the South Korean government's concerns about a potential arms deal between Moscow and Pyongyang, Russia warned Seoul against joining the "Washington-led anti-Russian propaganda."

Lee Hyo-jin


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