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President Yoon to address North-Russia issue at UN

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President Yoon Suk Yeol at a government meeting on artificial intelligence held at the Blue House on Wednesday. [YONHAP]
President Yoon Suk Yeol at a government meeting on artificial intelligence held at the Blue House on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

President Yoon Suk Yeol will be attending the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday accompanied by first lady Kim Keon Hee.

This marks Yoon’s first appearance at the UN since South Korea returned as a two-year nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council.

South Korea’s previous membership on the council was 11 years ago in 2014.

According to the president’s office, during his keynote speech at the General Assembly on Wednesday, President Yoon will likely to address the growing concerns arising from the summit held on Wednesday between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While specific details of the meeting have not been disclosed by either side, there have been speculations of an arms deal made.

President Putin mentioned Russia’s support for North Korea’s satellite development, to which Kim Jong-un responded that Pyongyang supports “all decisions” made by Putin.

This response was interpreted as a signal that North Korea is willing to supply artilleries to Russia,which is believed to be in need due to its ongoing war in Ukraine that has persisted for nearly two years.

However, the majority of President Yoon’s schedule in New York is expected to focus on promoting the city of Busan.

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo briefing reporters on President Yoon Suk Yeol's UN trip in New York next week at the president's Yongsan office on Thursday. [YONHAP]
Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo briefing reporters on President Yoon Suk Yeol’s UN trip in New York next week at the president’s Yongsan office on Thursday. [YONHAP]

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo  said Thursday that President Yoon will hold back-to-back bilateral meetings aimed at promoting Busan.

The southern port city is in competition with Rome and Riyadh to host the World Expo in 2030.

The voting by member countries to determine the host of the global event will take place in Paris at the Bureau International des Expositions headquarters in November.

“President Yoon will be engaging in a series of bilateral meetings the moment he arrives in New York on Monday,” Kim said. “President Yoon intends to promote the Busan bid to host the World Expo from every possible angle during the UN General Meeting.”

Kim said President Yoon currently has scheduled meetings with 30 countries, but the number may increase as schedules are adjusted with multiple countries.

Kim emphasized that this extensive diplomatic effort represents a significant undertaking, unprecedented for a president while overseas.

“Since his inauguration, President Yoon has held 99 bilateral talks with 58 countries,” Kim said.  “After the UN General Meeting, that number will rise further.”

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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