Ukraine FM calls for S. Korea's support in conflict with Russia
SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- Ukraine's top diplomat urged South Korea on Friday to support Kiev in its fight against Russian aggression, saying Seoul, too, has a stake in establishing political order around the world.
Pavlo Klimkin made the remarks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency shortly before meeting his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, for talks on expanding bilateral and global cooperation.
"What is going on in Ukraine does matter for the Republic of Korea," he said. "Does matter in the sense of support, does matter in the sense that if there is no solidarity and there is no commitment in defending values in one place, there will be fragmenting of the whole area of values."
Klimkin acknowledged that South Korea has made clear its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty with regard to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
However, South Korea has not joined the United States and other nations in imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions.
"I see the Republic of Korea as a developing midpower with global ambitions, and as such midpowers with global ambitions, for the Republic of Korea, it does matter whether the European order is in place, whether the rules are respected, whether the political commitments are respected," Klimkin said.
Accusing Russia of breaching its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum, under which Ukraine won security assurances from Russia and the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons stockpile, Klimkin said Moscow has set a "very dangerous precedent" for international order.
"When political commitments are broken, how can you enter in any side of political commitments ... how can you address any political commitments with North Korea, with other countries?" he asked. "So I believe the Republic of Korea should support us in defending this case in international organizations, in defending our case, for example, in different legal fora, like the possibility to address the International Court of Justice."
On the purpose of his three-day visit to Seoul, Klimkin said he wanted to learn from the Korean experience of effectively addressing both economic and security challenges.
He also expressed hope that the two countries would be able to expand ties in business and investment, space cooperation and scientific cooperation.
Klimkin, the first Ukrainian foreign minister to visit South Korea in 11 years, noted that no South Korean president has visited Ukraine.
"It will be my point to discuss the visit of our president to Korea anytime soon, and it would gain additional momentum for our relations," he said. "I will mention the idea of exchanging the presidential visit to have our president's visit to Seoul and in exchange the visit of your president to Kiev."
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