North Korea Is A 'Distinct Threat' To Europe, President Yoon Tells NATO

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 09, 2024 - 06:45 AM

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced that he plans to discuss a security topic which is somewhat unusual for NATO when he travels to the NATO annual summit in Washington D.C. this week. 

He plans to present info on the 'distinct threat' North Korea poses to Europe at a moment leaders Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin are deepening their ties, including on the defense cooperation front.

"Military co-operation between Russia and North Korea poses a distinct threat and grave challenge to the peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in Europe," Yoon told Reuters. Last month Putin in a rare visit to Pyongyang signed a pact with Kim wherein the two agreed on mutual military assistance.

Via AP

Of course, South Korea is not in NATO and the question of Pyongyang's threat to the Western military alliance is typically not a front and center topic.

President Yoon had become the first South Korean leader to ever attend a NATO summit in 2022. Four Asia-Pacific allies of NATO will join this week's summit, also including Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

Yoon described in his comments that possible new military support to Ukraine "depends entirely" on the future health of Russia-South Korea ties. South Korea has been mulling whether to send weapons to Ukraine, and Yoon stressed that decision would be made based on how the recent military pact between Moscow and Pyongyang plays out.

"North Korea is clearly a menace to the international society," Yoon continued. "I hope that Russia will sensibly decide which side - the South or the North - is more important and necessary for its own interests."

Already there have been widespread reports of the north sending hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Russian forces. Analysts say that while the outright sending of troops is unlikely, it remains a possibility

As of now, the prospect of North Korean soldiers being deployed to Ukraine is speculative and unlikely, experts told Business Insider.

But if it did happen, the main advantage Russia would take from it would be North Korea's sheer number of soldiers — not their effectiveness, they said.

"North Korea has a large military of 1.3 million," Edward Howell, Korea Foundation Fellow with Chatham House's Asia-Pacific Programme, told BI.

"Yet, the quality of North Korean conventional weapons, arms, and the soldiers themselves is far weaker," he said.

Yoon has been seeking to bolster ties with Europe in order to further put pressure on Kim and isolate North Korea, and is now focused on the question of the Ukraine war in making its case.

When asked in the Reuters interview about relations with Washington going forward during a possible Trump administration, he responded: "The alliance will stay strong going forward."