Talking with Lavrov, S. Korean minister raises concern about N. Korea’s possible nuclear test

PHNOM PENH-- South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin met Friday with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and expressed concern about the possibility of North Korea carrying out another nuclear test, a source said.

The ministers were seated next to each other during the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers' Meeting, hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in Phnom Penh. They had a conversation just before the session.

Park raised the North Korean nuclear issue, and Lavrov mentioned the word "tit-for-tat." The detailed background of why the top Russian diplomat used the wording was not immediately confirmed.

The ministers also talked about the Ukraine war.

Park told Lavrov the situation in Ukraine is having "adverse impacts" on South Korea-Russia relations. He voiced hope for an early restoration of peace in Ukraine and normalization of Seoul-Moscow ties, according to his ministry.

It was their second meeting since Park took office in May. They met each other in Indonesia last month, where the Group of 20 foreign ministers' meeting took place.

Among other attendees at the EAS session were U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Later in the day, Park is scheduled to join the annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

On Thursday, he met informally with Pyongyang's top delegate, An Kwang-il, during a welcome dinner. Park asked An to convey his congratulatory message for the North's Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on being promoted to the post. Apparently, Choe is not joining the ARF in person due to the North's strict measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. An is the North's ambassador to Indonesia and doubles as point man on ASEAN.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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