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S. Korean envoy lambasts N. Korea-Russia cooperation, UNSC resolution breach

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 23, 2024 - 09:09

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South Korean Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook speaks during a UN Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. (Livestream of the meeting from UN Web TV) South Korean Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook speaks during a UN Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. (Livestream of the meeting from UN Web TV)

South Korea's top envoy to the UN renewed Seoul's criticism of arms transactions between North Korea and Russia during a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, as Russia's top diplomat shifted the blame to the West for the prolonging of the war in Ukraine.

South Korean Ambassador Hwang Joon-kook called the weapons transfers between Pyongyang and Moscow "direct" violations of UNSC resolutions during the meeting on the war in Ukraine, where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the West's weapons support to Ukraine.

Before the meeting, diplomats from dozens of countries jointly lambasted what they termed the "hypocrisy" of Russia and defended the West's arms transfers to Ukraine as having proceeded in a "lawful" manner in support of Ukraine's "inherent right of self defense."

"Russia's use of North Korean missiles in Ukraine also has significant implications on global nuclear non-proliferation as well as on the Korean Peninsula," Hwang said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Since it is unprecedented that UNSC resolutions were violated so flagrantly and seriously by a permanent member of the Security Council since the sanction regime was established against the DPRK in 2006, it is difficult to fathom the repercussions," he added.

The White House has revealed that the North has supplied Russia with several dozen ballistic missiles in addition to its earlier provision of more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions.

Hwang pointed out that revenue from the North's arms supplies would help enhance its weapons programs.

"It generates revenue for the DPRK, which is likely to be used to further the development of its illegal nuclear and missile programs. It could open the door for more arms sales to other states and non-state actors," he said.

Defending Russia's "special military operation" against Ukraine, Lavrov rejected the argument that Russia is prolonging the war as it has allegedly sought weapons from North Korea, Iran and elsewhere.

"Today, the absolute majority of unbiased experts see very clearly that the key factor which impedes ways towards a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is the continued support on the part of the West to the regime in Kyiv," he said in a statement interpreted in English.

Lavrov also claimed that the "Western patrons" have been pushing Ukraine to continue with a "senseless military confrontation."

"This is done under the guise of false words, saying that the crash of the Zelenskyy regime would be an existential to the Ukrainians," he said. "Those who looked deeply into the genesis of the Ukrainian crisis can see very clearly that such statements contain not an iota of truth."

Robert Wood, the deputy US ambassador to the UN, accused Russia of using the council meeting as a "stage for its blatant disinformation."

"It is cynicism of the highest order to claim that legitimate and lawful support for Ukraine's self-defense is prolonging Russia's war of aggression," he said. "There are hundreds of thousands of Russian troops in Ukraine's internationally recognized territory. There is not a single Ukrainian soldier on Russian soil."

Wood went on to say that the Russian representative's accusations would sound more credible if "his government respected international law, the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions."

"No amount of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations erase the fact that Russia's violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity started the war," he said.

Shortly before the UNSC meeting, representatives from 46 countries and the European Union held a press conference, contending that Russia called for the meeting to "distract" from its war in Ukraine.

"We underscore the hypocrisy of the Russia Federation, calling yet another UNSC meeting to criticize lawful arms transfers to Ukraine that are done in support of Ukraine's inherent right of self defense as reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter," they said.

They also condemned continued military support for Russia's war in Ukraine from North Korea, Iran and Belarus.

"We urge the DPRK and Russia to abide by the Security Council resolutions, and remain concerned that the Russian Federation's use of ballistic missiles from the DPRK provides the DPRK with valuable insights into the technical capabilities of its weapons," they said. (Yonhap)