SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Wednesday any attempt to cooperate with North Korea on military affairs in a way that damages international peace must immediately halt, his office said.
Yoon made the comment at a summit meeting with Southeast Asia’s ASEAN bloc countries in Jakarta, Indonesia, his office said.
Yoon’s office did not elaborate but his comment comes amid reports that arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia are actively advancing and that the North’s leader Kim Jong Un plans to visit Russia soon to meet President Vladimir Putin.
“Attempt at military cooperation with North Korea that harms international peace must immediately halt,” Yoon’s office quoted him as saying at his meeting with the leaders of ASEAN countries earlier on Wednesday.
North Korea and Russia have denied they were in arms negotiations.
Kim’s visit to Russia’s far-eastern port city of Vladivostok this month is partly to discuss supplying Moscow with weapons for the war in Ukraine, the New York Times has reported.
The rare trip by Kim comes after Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the two countries plan to conduct joint military exercises.
At a later meeting with ASEAN leaders together with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Yoon said South Korea will work closely with the two Asian neighbours with the goal of resuming their three-way summit.
The annual summit has not taken place since 2019 as tension grew among the three countries over Japan’s wartime past.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)