By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, March 1 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the South Korean mission to the United Nations on Tuesday called on Russia to immediately stop its invasion of Ukraine while saying his country will provide additional humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine.
Ambassador Cho Hyun also called on the United Nations to act quickly, noting South Korea would not have existed had it not been for U.N. assistance some 70 years ago when the country was invaded by North Korea.
"We are gathered here today at one of the darkest times in recent history," Cho said in an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
"My delegation joins the international community in strongly condemning Russia's armed invasion of Ukraine," he added.
The South Korean diplomat, along with dozens of other speakers at the emergency meeting, termed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine a "war of choice" by Russia, which he said "would not have taken place if Russia had listened to the calls of the international community."
"We condemn any act that seriously undermines the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any (U.N.) member state," Cho said. "We urge Russia to stop its offensive against Ukraine and to immediately withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine."
Cho also urged Russia to refrain from further escalating the crisis, noting Moscow recently put its strategic deterrence forces on high alert.
He said South Korea will increase its humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
"In the early days of this organization, the Republic of Korea was the first country that the United Nations assisted in response to an act of aggression," Cho said, referring to South Korea by its official name. "My country still exists today because the peoples of the United Nations at the time stood up immediately to the crisis of the innocent lives.
"This is why we are expressing our solidarity towards the Ukrainian people. This is why we still try to have hope in this system, and the commitment of its member states to uphold the principles of the charter."
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