Russia hopes South Korea 'calmly' accepts treaty with North Korea

North Korea supports Russia's war with Ukraine as 'legitimate act of self-defence' (MFA Russia@Telegram)

North Korea supports Russia's war with Ukraine as 'legitimate act of self-defence' (MFA Russia@Telegram)

Seoul, June 25 (IANS) Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister on Tuesday expressed hope that South Korea would "calmly" accept Moscow's new partnership treaty with North Korea, a news report said, amid condemnation over deepening military cooperation between the two countries.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said the treaty, signed by the North's leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin after their talks in Pyongyang last week, is not directed at either South Korea or third countries, reports Yonhap news agency.

The treaty calls for, among other things, the provision of military and other assistance from one side to the other "with all means" at its disposal and "without delay" if either of the two gets invaded or put in a state of war.

Last week, South Korea said it could consider a possible supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine in response to Moscow's commitment to military cooperation with North Korea.

South Korea also joined the United States and Japan in issuing a joint statement condemning, "in the strongest possible terms," the expanding military cooperation between Russia and North Korea.

"We hope that Seoul will accept the new agreement with an understanding, and a sound approach will prevail there, including in relations with Russia," Rudenko was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Sputnik.

He stressed the deal is a "warning for those countries planning to solve regional problems using military means."

South Korea has maintained a policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine. In response to Seoul's possible policy shift, Putin earlier warned it would be a "very big mistake" if South Korea provided arms to Kyiv.

Touching on Kim's potential visit to Russia, Rudenko said the trip could take place when "all the necessary conditions are right."

During last week's summit, Putin expressed his hope of holding the next summit with Kim in Moscow.

"I think as soon as all the necessary conditions for such a visit are right, and a certain base for those documents that must be signed at this level will be developed, this visit will take place," Rudenko said.

Earlier in the day, North Korea's state media carried Putin's thank-you message to the North Korean leader, in which the Russian leader called Kim an "honoured guest" that Russia always waits for.