Yoon Seok-yeol-style diplomacy, abandoning ’30 years of cooperation with Russia’… There was no regime like this

As it was confirmed that North Korea and Russia will strengthen ‘military cooperation’ between the two countries through an imminent summit, Korea-Russia relations, which have built friendly relations for over 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990, are facing great difficulties. It has become clear that the diplomatic and security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula will also deteriorate significantly due to the ‘departure’ of sanctions against North Korea by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

It is interpreted as a huge disaster caused by the interaction between Russia’s wrong judgment, which was in a military predicament in a prolonged war, and President Yoon Seok-yeol’s hasty interview last April and the unilateralist ‘value diplomacy’ that followed.

Korea and Russia have maintained friendly relations for the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in September 1990. Post-Cold War was a great achievement of the ‘Northern Policy’ pursued by the Roh Tae-woo administration, which was well aware of the trends of the times. Subsequent governments, regardless of whether they were progressive or conservative, developed the ‘Iron Silk Road Initiative’ (Kim Dae-jung administration), ‘Plan for Peace and Prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and an Era in Northeast Asia’ (Roh Moo-hyun administration), ‘Eurasia Initiative’ (Park Geun-hye administration), and the ‘New Northern Policy’. (Moon Jae-in administration) tried to strengthen cooperative relations with Russia.

In 2008, during the Lee Myung-bak administration, the relationship between the two countries was upgraded to a ‘strategic cooperative partnership.’ However, the economic cooperation plans between the two countries failed to achieve ‘resolving the North Korean nuclear issue’, which is a prerequisite for project success, and did not produce notable results. 

The ordeal in Korea-Russia relations came after the war in Ukraine began in late February 2022.

Korea, which joined the sanctions against Russia led by the United States and the European Union ( EU ), was listed on the list of ‘unfriendly countries’ announced by Russia on March 7 last year. Experts continued to point out that as a member of a Western developed country, a careful response is needed to manage Korea-Russia relations while meeting the expectations of the international community to some extent.

The situation deteriorated rapidly in mid-April, ahead of President Yoon Seok-yeol’s ‘state visit’ to the United States.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, President Yoon said in an interview with Reuters on April 19, “When serious violations of the laws of war, such as large-scale attacks on civilians, occur, it may be difficult to insist on only humanitarian or financial support.” It was a statement that strongly implied that Korea could provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Then came a strong warning from Russia. The바카라사이트 day after the interview was published, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “We will consider any arms delivery to Ukraine as an open hostile act against Russia,” and added, “If South Korea acts like this, it could affect our approach to the Korean Peninsula.” He said.

The Russian Embassy in Korea also issued a statement on the same day, saying, “Such measures (supply of arms to Korea) will destroy the Russia-South Korea relationship that has been developed constructively over the past 30 years for the benefit of the people of both countries.”

Russia has had a decisive influence on the modern history of the Korean Peninsula since August 1945. He led the founding of North Korea (1948) and the Korean War (1950-1953), and since July 1961, he has guaranteed the security of North Korea by signing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. However, after the end of the Cold War, the country placed great emphasis on cooperation with South Korea and maintained a relatively cool relationship with North Korea.

Since then, it is not clear whether Korea really provided weapons to Ukraine, but American media has reported that if Korea provides 155mm artillery shells to the United States, the United States is pursuing a plan to provide its surplus to Ukraine. President Yoon also visited Ukraine in July and announced the ‘Peace Solidarity Initiative’, promising support in the areas of security, humanity, and reconstruction, and on the 10th, he announced a large-scale support plan worth $2.3 billion (about 3 trillion won).

In the end, Russia decided to strengthen relations with North Korea again for the first time in 30 years in order to replenish its lack of weapons. President Yoon’s unilateral ‘value diplomacy’ and Russia’s irresponsible attitude brought about a major catastrophe that worsened the regional situation.

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