TOKYO, Feb 28 (KINA) -- South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday vowed to deal with North Korea's arms transfers to Russia in coordination with the international community, Seoul's defense ministry said, According to Yonhap News Agency, the officials expressed concerns that these illegal arms transfers pose a significant threat to global peace and stability, and pledged to respond firmly in this manner.
During the conversation, Shin and Austin condemned North Korea's missile tests and pledged to maintain a strong defense to deter its provocations. The talks were held amid concerns over North Korea's supply of munitions and missiles to Russia for Ukraine use.
Shin told local media on Monday that North Korea has been shipping millions of munitions to Russia since July 2023, in exchange for food and necessities.
The US and its partners have denounced the arms deal as violating UN Security Council resolutions banning countries from trading weapons or military equipment with North Korea.
Pyongyang has escalated tensions with weapons tests this year, including five rounds of cruise missile tests and artillery firings near the western inter-Korean sea border in January.
The Pentagon reported that the US and South Korea have discussed shared defense and security priorities on the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region, and pledged to improve trilateral security cooperation with Japan.
The US extended its deterrence commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea (ROK), and commended progress in US-ROK-Japan trilateral security cooperation. They also emphasized the need for broader regional cooperation. (end) mk.mtm