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South Korea, EU agree to step up pressure on Russia, condemn North Korean missile tests – diplomats

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European Council President Charles Michel said Russia’s continued attacks against Ukraine showed that deeper cooperation between the EU and South Korea “is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity.”

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South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, center, poses for a photo with European Council President Charles Michel, left, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a meeting at the presidential office in Seoul, Monday, May 22, 2023. Giving.

Credit: Jung Yeon-jae/Pool Photo via AP

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The leaders of South Korea and the European Union agreed on Monday to step up pressure on Russia over the war against Ukraine and condemn North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol meets with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Seoul after the three leaders attended the weekend summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations in Hiroshima, Japan .

“We agree to maintain and increase collective pressure on Russia, in particular through effective implementation of relevant restrictive measures,” they said in a joint statement. “We are committed to supporting Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction and will remain committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Michel said Russia’s continued attacks against Ukraine show that deeper cooperation between the EU and South Korea “is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity.”

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The three leaders called on North Korea to stop military actions that escalate tensions and return to denuclearization talks.

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“The European Union will never accept (North Korea’s) nuclear weapons as normal, just as we do not accept Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine,” von der Leyen told a joint press conference.

Yoon said the three leaders recognized that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs pose a threat outside the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has launched nearly 100 missiles since the start of 2022, many of them with nuclear-capable warheads that put the US mainland and South Korea within striking distance. Experts say North Korea believes its expanding arsenal of weapons will help it extract concessions from its rivals.

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At the G-7 summit, leaders of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Italy, as well as the European Union, condemned Russia’s aggression and reiterated their support for Ukraine. He demanded that North Korea refrain from any destabilizing or provocative actions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky kicked off the G-7 summit Sunday with some of his biggest supporters, building momentum for his country’s war effort even as Russia wins on the battlefield. which was quickly disputed by Ukraine. Even before Zelensky landed on Saturday, the G-7 nations had unveiled new sanctions and other measures to punish Moscow over its aggression that began in February last year.

Yoon also met with Zelensky on the sidelines of the G-7 summit and promised to send landmine equipment, ambulances and other supplies. South Korea has provided humanitarian and other aid to Ukraine while joining US-led economic sanctions against Russia, but has not directly supplied arms to Ukraine in line with its longstanding policy of not actively supplying arms to countries in conflict. Weapons not provided.