The Korea Herald


Russian FM calls to maintain peace on the peninsula, abandon arms race

By Ahn Sung-mi

Published : March 25, 2021 - 15:29

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South Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (right) and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, pose for a photo before their talks at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap) South Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (right) and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, pose for a photo before their talks at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday stressed efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and called for related countries to renounce the arms race amid a ramping up of tensions in the region, following Pyongyang’s launch of what appeared to be ballistic missiles.
Lavrov’s remark came after his meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, just hours after North Korea had fired two short-range missiles into the East Sea.
“I emphasize the importance of efforts to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia, as well as on the Korean Peninsula,” said Lavrov during a press briefing after the meeting. “This includes all the concerned countries giving up an arms race and activation of all kinds of military activities,” he said, seemingly referring to Pyongyang’s latest missiles test and joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul.
The Russian envoy also stressed that the two countries maintain their position that they want to resume negotiations among related countries as soon as possible to resolve outstanding issues in the region.
Chung expressed “deep regret” over North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles, amid South Korea’s various efforts to achieve complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
“We ask North Korea to join in our efforts to turn the Korean Peninsula into a land of peace free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threats as agreed between the leaders of the two Koreas in September 2018,” said Chung.
During the meeting, Chung said the two countries agreed to continue close communication and cooperation for progress on the Korean Peninsula peace process, and had asked for Moscow’s “constructive role” going forward.
The two also agreed to make efforts to realize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Seoul at an early date, as soon as the coronavirus situation is stabilized.
Chung and Lavrov also talked about ways to strengthen bilateral relations, which marked their 30th anniversary last year.
On Wednesday, the two envoys attended an opening ceremony of an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and to promote the year of 2020-2021 Korea-Russia mutual exchange.
The last time Lavrov, who has helmed Russia’s Foreign Ministry since 2004, visited Korea was in 2013, when he accompanied Putin on a visit. Before that, he traveled to Seoul in 2009 for a ministerial meeting.
Before touching down in Seoul, Lavrov was in China for two days where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two allies agreed to shore up ties against sanctions imposed on them by the US and its allies.
The Beijing-Moscow meeting comes on the heels of a heated exchange between the US and Chinese officials in Alaska last week, as the superpowers are rallying for support from their respective allies amid intensifying tensions between the two countries.
By Ahn Sung-mi (