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South Korea hints at lethal aid to Ukraine if Russia arms North Korea

So far, South Korea has provided humanitarian aid and non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine.
South Korea hints at lethal aid to Ukraine if Russia arms North Korea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at their meeting in Kyiv, 2023. Photo:
South Korea hints at lethal aid to Ukraine if Russia arms North Korea

South Korean National Security Adviser Chang Ho-jin stated that Seoul might reconsider its stance on not supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine if Russia provides precision weapons to North Korea. Chang warned that Moscow is approaching a “red line.”

«I would like to emphasize that it all depends on what Russia will do. Will there be any line remaining for us if Russia gives precision weapons to North Korea?», Chang said on state-owned KBS TV.

Chang indicated that South Korea’s military support to Ukraine could change based on Russia’s future actions, though he declined to provide details to maintain leverage over North Korea and Russia.

On 21 June, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest a new defense treaty between Russia and North Korea, signed during President Putin’s visit to Pyongyang. This agreement provides for mutual assistance in case of aggression against either party.

The US State Department estimates that North Korea has supplied Russia with over 11,000 containers of ammunition since September. 

Data from the global security non-profit C4ADS, provided to The Washington Post, shows that between August and January, over 74,000 tons of explosives were shipped from Russian Far East ports to locations near Ukraine, equating to roughly 1.6 million artillery shells.

While South Korea has provided humanitarian aid and non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine, it has refrained from supplying lethal weapons. However, South Korea possesses an advanced military-industrial complex, and Ukraine is particularly interested in acquiring new weapons, equipment, and ammunition from South Korea.

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