Russia’s foreign minister to visit North Korea Oct. 18-19

SEOUL (Reuters) – Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday this week, North Korea’s state media KCNA and Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

Lavrov’s visit comes a month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a rare trip to Russia during which he and President Vladimir Putin discussed military cooperation, including over North Korea’s satellite programme and the war in Ukraine.

The growing diplomatic exchanges between the countries have fanned concerns that they could shore up Russia’s military in Ukraine while North Korea obtains missile technology banned under U.N. resolutions.

Washington has accused Pyongyang of providing weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine, including through a recent shipment from an ammunition depot in North Korea, though both have denied any arms transactions.

Nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States held talks in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Monday and warned against any illegal military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

The envoys also pledged “stern responses” if the North launches a spy satellite this month as it had announced, after two failed attempts.

“They reaffirmed that there will be a clear price for North Korea’s illegal actions that undermine peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the international community as a whole,” the ministry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Ed Davies)