U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin held a joint press conference in Seoul, South Korea on November 9, 2023. They discussed their concerns about the growing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, which they described as a “two-way street” involving arms flows and technical support. Blinken also mentioned the importance of an extended deterrence strategy and improving cooperation with Japan to counter threats from North Korea. He expressed concerns about Russia’s support for North Korea’s ballistic missile programs, nuclear technology, and space launch capacity, and emphasized the need to identify, expose, and counter these efforts. The United States, South Korea, and Japan have condemned the flow of arms and military equipment from North Korea to Russia. However, North Korea and Russia have denied any arms deals, despite pledging closer military cooperation. Blinken highlighted the security implications for the Korean Peninsula, global non-proliferation regimes, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. He also mentioned the increasing cooperation between the United States, South Korea, and Japan on North Korea, including real-time sharing of missile warning data, trilateral defense exercises, and efforts to counter malicious cyber activities. Park emphasized the constructive role China could play in addressing the tensions caused by the ties between North Korea and Russia. In Japan, Blinken and other G7 foreign ministers condemned North Korea’s transfer of arms to Russia and called for humanitarian pauses in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Park joined Blinken and the G7 ministers in urging humanitarian pauses and expressed concern about North Korea’s involvement in helping Hamas. North Korea has denied reports of its weapons being used by Hamas. During his visit to South Korea, Blinken faced protests calling for a ceasefire in Israel and for South Korea not to align with the U.S.-Israel policy. The visit is part of Blinken’s broader Asia trip, which includes a stop in India. Blinken and Park also discussed North Korea’s attempt to launch a spy satellite and urged it to call it off. South Korea stated that North Korea was in the final stages of preparations for a launch with technical help from Russia.
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