(2nd LD) Blinken says Russia providing technology, support for N.K. military programs

SEOUL, – Russia is providing “technology and support” for North Korea’s military programs, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday, as Pyongyang is believed to be trying to make yet another attempt to launch a military satellite.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Seoul after talks with Foreign Minister Park Jin, Blinken also said the two sides discussed ways to intensify pressure on Moscow not to transfer military technology to Pyongyang.

“We are seeing the DPRK provide military equipment to Russia for pursuing its aggression in Ukraine. But we’re also seeing Russia provide technology and support to the DPRK for its own military programs. And that’s a real concern,” Blinken said, referring to the North by its official name.

Blinken also said he and Park “spoke about further actions that our countries can take with partners to intensify pressure on Moscow not to transfer military technology to the DPRK in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

The top U.S. diplomat arrived in South Korea late Wednesday, after attending a Group of Seven foreign ministerial meeting in Tokyo.

The talks came after revelations that the North provided Russia with a large amount of munitions and weapons for use in the war in Ukraine under an arms deal apparently reached at a rare September summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After his arrival, Blinken met with National Security Adviser Cho Tae-yong and “strongly condemned” the North’s provision of military equipment and munitions to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine, the State Department said.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine and thanked” Cho for Seoul’s commitment to providing assistance to the country, the department said. The two sides also discussed the importance of cooperation in addressing global challenges, including instability in the Middle East, it added.

Prior to Thursday’s talks with Park, Blinken paid a courtesy call on President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The deeper military cooperation between the North and Russia has given rise to the prospect that Pyongyang could be receiving Moscow’s technical assistance for its long-range missile program. Seoul officials said the North appears to be readying for a third attempt to launch a military spy satellite after failed attempts in May and August.

It marked Blinken’s first trip to Seoul since the launch of the Yoon government. He last visited here in March 2021 for a “two plus two” meeting of the foreign and defense chiefs.

Park and Blinken previously met in person during the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September.

Blinken will depart for India later in the day, to be joined by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for joint talks with their Indian counterparts, capping his nine-day multination trip that included stops to the Middle East.

Source: Yonhap News Agency