Top diplomats of South Korea and Russia have expressed concerns over North Korea's repeated violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions and vowed to keep strategic communication to deal with the growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday and discussed a range of issues, including their bilateral ties and evolving nuclear capabilities of the North, the ministry said.
During the meeting, Yun said that the latest intermediate range missile test by the North demonstrates that Pyongyang is nearing the final stage of arming itself with nuclear weapons and called for the need to keep pressure on North Korea to make it reverse its course.
Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's opposition to the North going nuclear and its commitment to faithfully implement UNSC resolutions, including Resolution 2321 adopted in the wake of the North's fifth nuclear test in September, according to the ministry.
In their seventh meeting, Yun and Lavrov also agreed to improve bilateral cooperation on economic and other fronts, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, during the meeting, Lavrov was said to have voiced his opposition to the move by South Korea and the United States to deploy Washington's strategic assets during an upcoming joint military drill.
Military officials in Seoul earlier said that the U.S. will send its strategic assets to the joint military exercise with South Korea next month in response to North Korea escalating tensions with its latest missile launch. A source close to the matter quoted Lavrov as saying the move is not desirable in that it could raise tensions further on and around the peninsula.
As for the planned installment of an advanced anti-missile battery called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, he also said that the Russian minister expressed concerns given that it is part of the U.S.' global missile defense system.
South Korea and the U.S. are planning to install a THAAD battery this year on Korean soil as part of efforts to better counter missile threats from the North. Russia, along with China, have opposed the plan, saying it would hurt their strategic security interests. (Yonhap)