September 15, 2023
SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly reaching a deal over military cooperation with Russia’s Vladimir Putin is like “making a deal with the devil,” South Korea’s ruling party chief said Thursday.
Speaking at a meeting of the party leadership, the People Power Party’s chair, Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, said the two “who are regarded by many in the international community as the most dangerous leaders, are being criticized all over the world for the demonic trade.”
“Kim Jong-un held a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, and reports say they agreed on a full range of military cooperation. North Korea is expected to provide Russia with conventional weapons such as artillery shells in return for advanced military technology,” he said.
The “demonic trade,” he continued, “seriously threatens peace not only on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, but for the entire world.”
He said that Russia’s purported exchange of arms and military technology with North Korea amounts to “several UN Security Council resolutions” and “cannot be condoned.”
He called on Russia to “immediately halt all arms deals” with North Korea and “act responsibly as a permanent member of the Security Council.”
Ruling party Reps. Sung Il-jong and Ha Tae-keung said on the same day that South Korea should consider supplying Ukraine with “military aid — lethal and nonlethal” to put the brakes on the North Korean leader’s assumed deal with Russia.
“We have a lot of advanced weapons that we could provide Ukraine with, which would be a huge blow to Russia,” Sung, who is on the National Assembly’s defense committee, said in a radio interview.
“I think it is crucial for our government to weigh all of the options, now that North Korea may have access to … advanced technology … after the summit with the Russian president.”
Similarly, Ha said the government should try to dissuade Russia from aiding North Korea by demonstrating that South Korea is capable of supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Rep. Park Kwang-on, the Democratic Party of Korea’s floor leader, blamed the Yoon Suk Yeol administration’s “failed North Korea policies” for Kim’s meeting with Putin.
“The Yoon administration’s hawkish stance on North Korea is what drove the situation to this point,” he said.
“Nonetheless the military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, which poses a threat to regional security in Northeast Asia, deserves criticism.”