South Korea Urges Russia to Adopt Responsible Conduct Amid Diplomatic Talks in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea – The South Korean government has called upon Moscow to demonstrate responsible behavior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday, coinciding with the visit of a high-ranking Russian official to Seoul for discussions centered on regional security issues.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Andrey Rudenko, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific area, engaged in talks with South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung-won on Friday. The discussions revolved around the conflict in Ukraine and the bilateral relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, Chung articulated South Korea's firm position regarding Russia's increasing military collaboration with North Korea, urging Moscow to exhibit responsible conduct. He also solicited Russia's assistance to safeguard the legitimate interests of South Korean businesses and nationals within Russia. Furthermore, Rudenko's itinerary included a courtesy meeting with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun and deliberations with Kim Gunn, who is South Korea's principal nuclear envoy. In these discussions, Kim stressed the necessity for Moscow to adhere strictly to its commitments under United Nations Security Council resolutions. This includes halting its military engagements with Pyongyang immediately, which pose a threat to the security of both the Korean Peninsula and Europe.

The visit of the Russian deputy foreign minister occurs against the backdrop of strained relations between South Korea and Russia, primarily due to divergent views on North Korea. This tension was exacerbated following comments made by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday, in which he labeled North Korea as an "irrational group" and the sole nation globally to legalize the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. These remarks were met with criticism from the Russian Foreign Ministry, with spokesperson Maria Zakharova denouncing Yoon's statements as "blatantly biased" in a commentary issued the next day. In retaliation, the South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian Ambassador to South Korea, Georgy Zinoviev, to express their objections to Zakharova's comments.

The scheduling of Rudenko's trip, initially slated for last September, was deferred to this date due to unforeseen circumstances, highlighting the complexities and evolving nature of the diplomatic interactions between South Korea and Russia.

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