Speaking at a meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on Thursday, Lavrov declared that the recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave grounds to say that the bilateral ties “had reached a completely new, strategic level.”
His comments were echoed by his North Korean counterpart, who stated that the partnership between Moscow and Pyongyang is developing into “the invincible relations of comrades-in-arms.”
Meanwhile, the Russian minister also expressed “serious concerns” about the military build-up by the US, Japan, and South Korea on the Korean Peninsula as well as Washington’s policy of deploying strategic infrastructure, including its nuclear assets, in the region.
This summer, the US sent a nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea. In recent weeks, it has also staged several joint war games with Seoul’s military on the peninsula, sparking outrage in Pyongyang, which has conducted a flurry of missile tests in the region.
Commenting on the actions of the US and its regional allies, Lavrov pointed out that “we are countering this unconstructive and dangerous line with a policy of ensuring de-escalation here and preventing tensions.”
He added that Russia, North Korea, and China all support laying the groundwork for a “regular negotiation process on security issues on the Korean Peninsula” without any preconditions.
On Wednesday, Lavrov said that during his trip to North Korea, he planned to discuss the implementation of agreements that had been reached by Putin and Kim during their historic summit in Russia’s Far East in September. At the time, the North Korean leader spent almost a week in the neighboring country, touring the Vostochny Cosmodrome, meeting with high-ranking officials, and inspecting Russian advanced weaponry, including nuclear-capable strategic bombers and fighter jets.
Lavrov also praised North Korea for its “unwavering and principled support” of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, including its decision to recognize four formerly Ukrainian regions as part of Russia. The territories in question overwhelmingly voted to join Russia last autumn in public referendums. Earlier, North Korea recognized the results of the referendum in Crimea, which voted to become part of Russia after the 2014 coup in Kiev.