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Two Koreas clash over Ukraine crisis at UN

Cho Hyun, South Korean ambassador to the UN, addresses the UN General Assembly during an emergency meeting in New York on Tuesday, to discuss the crisis in Ukraine in this image captured from the website of the world body. (Yonhap)
Cho Hyun, South Korean ambassador to the UN, addresses the UN General Assembly during an emergency meeting in New York on Tuesday, to discuss the crisis in Ukraine in this image captured from the website of the world body. (Yonhap)

Diplomats of South and North Korea clashed over differing views of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the UN as delegates met for an emergency session to discuss a resolution condemning Moscow’s aggression.

Cho Hyun, the South Korean ambassador to the UN, strongly condemned “Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine,” throwing support behind a UN General Assembly resolution that was set for a vote Wednesday, demanding Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine. On the contrary, North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song sided with Russia, blaming the US and the West for their “hegemonic policy” and “high-handedness.”

The UN resolution, which requires two-thirds majority from the 193-member General Assembly, is largely expected to be adopted. Though the resolution is nonbinding, they do carry strong political weight in rebuking Russia on the world stage.

“We are gathered here today at one of the darkest times in recent history. My delegation joins the international community in strongly condemning Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine,” said Cho at the emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Cho said “this war was a choice made by Russia,” which would not have taken place if Russia had “listened to the calls of the international community.”

“We condemn any act that seriously undermines the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any member state,” he said. “My delegation is seriously concerned by the recent announcement by Russia to put the strategic deterrence forces on high alert. We urge Russia to refrain from further escalating the crisis and to seek a diplomatic solution.”

Cho said South Korea will further increase its humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, noting his country was the first country that the UN assisted in response to an act of aggression, under the “Uniting for Peace” resolution.

“My country still exists today because the peoples of the United Nations at the time stood up immediately to the crisis of the innocent lives that suffered for no reason of their own,” he said. “This is why we are expressing our solidarity towards Ukrainian people. This is why we still try to have hope in this system and the commitment of its member states to uphold the principles of the charter. And again this is why we must be resolutely united against this act of aggression.”

About an hour after Cho’s speech, North Korea’s Kim also spoke on stage, denouncing the US and the West for Russia’s aggression.

“The root cause of the Ukraine crisis totally relies on the hegemonic policy of the United States and the West, which indulge themselves in high-handedness and arbitrariness toward other countries,” said Kim.

The North Korean envoy accused the US and the West of “systematically undermining (the) security environment in Europe,” by ignoring Russia’s “reasonable demand” for legal guarantees for security, while becoming “more blatant” in their attempts to deploy attack weapons systems while pursuing NATO’s eastward expansion.

“We clearly remember how Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were violated by the United States and the West in the past under the pretext of international peace and security,” he said.

Kim said peace would never arrive in the world at any time with the “unilateral and double-dealing policy of the US, which threatens peace and security of the sovereign state.”

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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