South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador Over Critical Comments

SEOUL — The South Korean foreign ministry summoned Russia’s top diplomat in Seoul on Saturday to express its displeasure over remarks made by a Russian Foreign Ministry official regarding President Yoon Suk Yeol’s characterization of North Korea’s nuclear policy.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the move came after Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described President Yoon’s comments as “blatantly biased.” Yoon had noted that North Korea is the only nation that has codified the preemptive use of nuclear weapons, amidst a series of North Korean weapons tests since the beginning of the year.

Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung-won met with Russian Ambassador to South Korea Georgy Zinoviev to protest Zakharova’s critique. Chung conveyed “deep regret” over the disrespectful language used to criticize the South Korean President’s statement, cautioning that such remarks could exacerbate the already tense bilateral relations between South Korea and Russia.

Zinoviev assured that he would relay the South Korean government’s stance to Moscow promptly. The South Korean foreign ministry also issued a statement condemning Zakharova’s comments as beneath diplomatic standards and indicative of ignorance and bias. The ministry criticized the remarks for disregarding the “clear and objective reality” that North Korea’s aggressive posture and continued military provocations are escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the broader region.

The ministry’s statement further labeled the Russian official’s comments as “repulsive sophistry” and critiqued Russian leadership’s portrayal of its military actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation,” dismissing it as a deceptive narrative aimed at the international community.

This diplomatic confrontation occurs against the backdrop of deepening ties between North Korea and Russia, with allegations from the United States and its allies that North Korea is supplying weapons to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, recent North Korean military activities and rhetoric have heightened tensions, including the announcement of testing a “cruise missile super-large warhead” and a “new-type anti-aircraft missile.”

The incident reflects ongoing geopolitical tensions involving North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and the complex international responses to Pyongyang’s policies and actions.

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