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S. Korea welcomes Putin-Xi agreement on N. Korea

South Korea on Tuesday welcomed China and Russia's resolve to oppose North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and implement U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

Speaking at a regular press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said Seoul "welcomes" the statement issued after Saturday's summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed their opposition to the North's nuclear and missile strategy.

The summit came days after Pyongyang claimed it "successfully" test-launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

"The joint statement says (China and Russia) strictly oppose North Korea's nuclear and missile development and our government welcomes such a statement," Cho said. "We also welcome the fact that China and Russia publicly pledged at the summit level to fully implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270."

The resolution, adopted by the Security Council in March, imposes the toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea over its fourth nuclear test in January and its long-range rocket launch in February.

The spokesman also noted China and Russia's strong opposition to the possible deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, on South Korean soil.

"The joint statement included an expression of opposition to THAAD, but our government's position is that it is being considered purely for defensive purposes to protect our people and defend our national security in the face of North Korea's threats," he said, citing last week's missile launch.

"We continue to explain that even if it is deployed, it will have no effect on the security interests of our neighboring countries."

Beijing and Moscow have long opposed the THAAD system, regarding it as a threat to the strategic balance of the region. (Yonhap)


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