South Korea’s chief intelligence agency is closely monitoring whether Russia is transferring any nuclear-missile technology to North Korea, after the two nations agreed on a broad military plan last month, a South Korean lawmaker said on Thursday.
Yoo Sang-bum, a member of the South Korean Parliament, was referring to a deal on defense co-operation made when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu went on a historic trip last month to Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un .
During the visit, the first by a defense minister from Moscow since the end of the Cold War, the pair attended a military exhibition that displayed Pyongyang’s latest drones and ballistic missiles, which are banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The U.S. has criticized North Korea for supplying Russia with weapons for its war against Ukraine.
“The National Intelligence Service is anticipating that Russia and North Korea will speed up their defense cooperation and is closely tracing movements” to spot signs that Russia is transferring nuclear-missile technology to Pyongyang, Yoo told reporters on Thursday.
“Russia is believed to have proposed sales of artillery shells and missiles and joint military exercises, while North Korea is analyzed to have requested technical assistance, including leasing of weapons made in the West and repairing old equipment,” Yoo said. He added that South Korea spotted signs that Pyongyang shipped out military supplies on a Russian aircraft on August 8.
Yoo added the National Intelligence Service said that North Korea could take military action. The country could even launch an intercontinental ballistic missile in protest at a major summit that will be attended by leaders of the United States, South Korea and Japan, at Camp David in Maryland on Friday.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said this week that the meeting between President Joe Biden , Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea will mark “a new era in trilateral cooperation among our countries.”
“This summit comes at a moment when our region and the world are being tested by geopolitical competition, by climate crisis, by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, by nuclear provocations,” said Blinken.
“Our heightened engagement is part of our broader efforts to revitalize, to strengthen, to knit together our alliances and partnerships, and in this case, to help realize a shared vision of an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, prosperous, secure, resilient, and connected.”
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