SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Russia has likely proposed that North Korea participate in three-way naval exercises with China, according to a lawmaker who attended a closed-door briefing with the director of South Korea's top spy agency Monday.
The briefing came days after Russia's Ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, told Russian media that including North Korea in joint military drills between Russia and China “seems appropriate.” Matsegora added it was his own point of view and that he wasn't aware of any preparations, according to Russia's Tass news agency.
According to lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum, when South Korean National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun was asked about the possibility of such drills, he said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu likely proposed holding trilateral naval exercises with North Korea and China while meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in July.
Kim Jong Un invited Shoigu to a major military parade in Pyongyang in July while vowing to expand military cooperation with Moscow, which U.S. officials say could involve North Korean supplies of artillery and other ammunition as Russian President Vladimir Putin reaches out to other countries for support in his war against Ukraine. Last week, the White House said Kim and Putin exchanged letters as Moscow looked to Pyongyang for more munitions.