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South Korea minister’s Ukraine remarks leave ‘shrinking wiggle room’ in US-Russia balance

However, Shin’s remarks caused a palpable downturn in diplomatic relations with Russia, pushing them to a new low.

“We firmly reject any attempts by the United States and its satellite countries to make baseless accusations against our country … We would like to caution Seoul against imprudent steps that could lead to a complete breakdown of once-friendly relations with Russia,” she said.

South Korea’s foreign ministry responded by reaffirming Seoul’s stance of providing non-lethal weapons, but stressed bilateral ties would depend on Russia’s future involvement with North Korea.

“Ballistic missile trade and military technology cooperation between Russia and North Korea constitute a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. Such actions pose a serious threat not only to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula but also to global peace,” the ministry said.

Relations between Seoul and Moscow have been tense since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

While adhering to the principle of providing no weapons to a country at war, South Korea joined the international community’s financial sanctions against Russia, a move that prompted Moscow to designate the Asian country as one of “unfriendly” countries.

This nuanced stance reflects Seoul’s effort to maintain equilibrium in a geopolitical landscape where it must balance the demands of its alliance with the US against the need to navigate Russia’s sensitivities, analysts said.

“As Seoul seeks to safeguard its defence through its alliance with the US, it needs to tread carefully to avoid further exacerbating tensions with Russia in a delicate diplomatic dance,” Andrei Lankov, an international-relations professor at Kookmin University, told This