KRYNICA, Poland, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is concerned about the possibility of military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has said, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a rare summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Han made the remarks during his speech at the opening ceremony of the Krynica Forum 2023 in Krynica, southern Poland, on Wednesday as the North's Kim pledged full support for Russia while Putin promised to help the North with satellite development during their summit at Russia's rocket launch facility.
"We are witnessing relations between Russia and North Korea drawing closer," Han said. "News about the possibility of military cooperation between the two countries is worrisome."
Han said the North's nuclear missile development poses threats not only to East Asia but also represents substantial threats to Europe as well, noting that North Korean ballistic missiles have the potential to reach the entire continent.
Pyongyang and Moscow have yet to release the details of the Kim-Putin meeting, with the possibility of North Korea supplying ammunition for Russia's war in Ukraine looming. During the meeting, Kim made comments that apparently endorse Russia's war in Ukraine.
"Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine is threatening the international community," Han said, expressing further concern over regional security due to the war.
Poland has provided significant military support to Ukraine and has pursued intensive weapons purchases to upgrade its own deterrence capabilities. Warsaw has plans to buy additional South Korean-made weapons following its purchases of K2 tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers and FA-50 fighters from South Korea last year.
Han highlighted arms deals between South Korea and Europe as local companies seek to expand their foothold in Poland into new areas of cooperation, notably in the defense sector.
The three-day regional economic forum will focus on Polish-South Korean cooperation, including discussions on cooperation in arms and reconstruction projects in Ukraine. A total of 22 local companies, including major carmaker Hyundai Motor Co., are participating.
Han is currently on a two-nation trip that already took him to the Czech Republic.
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