By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- The United States and South Korea regularly discuss ways to address threats posed by North Korea, including its support for Russia's war against Ukraine, a state department spokesperson said Monday.
State Department Press Secretary Ned Price also said the U.S. will continue to use all available means to hold accountable those that support Russia's illegal war in Ukraine.
"It's fair to say that of course, we have the closest of relations with our South Korean allies. There is a nexus to the DPRK, in this case, given the provision of arms and other military wares from the DPRK to Wagner entities for use in Ukraine," the department spokesperson said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The White House reaffirmed last week that Pyongyang provided military equipment to the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, releasing rare declassified imagery of Russian railcars traveling between Russia and North Korea in November.
Price said the U.S. and South Korea routinely discuss "the broad array of threats and challenges we face from the DPRK" when asked if the U.S. plans to work with its Asian ally to hold North Korea and the Russian mercenary group accountable.
Their discussions most frequently focus on the challenge from North Korea's nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile program, he said.
"But we have spoken to its activities in the cyber realm, to money laundering to criminal activities, and yes, to its support for what is perpetrated on the people in Ukraine," he added.
The department spokesperson also emphasized the U.S.' own efforts to hold the Wagner Group to account.
"What the White House noted last week is that we are imposing additional designations or using additional authorities to pursue the Wagner Group," said Price.
"We are going to use every appropriate tool to pursue the Wagner group, to attempt to counter its destabilizing actions, its destabilizing influence, again, in the Ukrainian context and more broadly as well," he added.
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