North Korea slams Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit as 'conspiracy gathering'

by IANS |

Seoul, June 14 (IANS) North Korea on Friday strongly condemned the Ukraine peace summit to be hosted by Switzerland later this week, describing it as a "conspiracy gathering under the pretext of peace" to exclude Russia, according to the North's state media.


The Summit on Peace in Ukraine is scheduled to run for two days starting Saturday, bringing together officials from nearly 90 countries and organisations to discuss a path toward ending the war that began nearly 28 months ago when Russia invaded Ukraine. Moscow will not be participating, reports Yonhap news agency.


"The idea of discussing the Ukraine issue without including Russia, a key party in the conflict, is absurd," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.


The statement came amid increasingly close military ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, highlighted by the impending visit to North Korea by Russian President Vladimir Putin.


The US, South Korea and other countries have accused North Korea of supplying artillery, missiles and other conventional weapons to Russia in exchange for advanced military technology and economic aid. Both North Korea and Russia have repeatedly denied the allegations.


North Korea slammed the US and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, accusing them of using the summit to instigate war and confrontation.


"It is only natural that the international community condemns this conspiratorial meeting, which is held under the guise of peace but aims to promote conflict and war," the KCNA added.


In response, Seoul's unification ministry questioned whether North Korea is qualified to criticise the international community's efforts to resolve the Ukraine issue.


"We must question whether North Korea, which has blatantly supported Russia's illegal invasion and disrupted international norms through illicit arms deals, has the right to disparage the efforts of Ukraine and the international community to uphold justice," said Kim In-ae, the deputy spokesperson for the ministry, during a press briefing.


A South Korean presidential official indicated that Putin is expected to visit North Korea "in a few days." Meanwhile, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that Putin might travel to North Korea "as early as next week" as part of a tour that includes a stop in Vietnam.


Moscow, however, declined to comment on the exact date of the visit.


Seoul's unification ministry reiterated its call for Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to act responsibly.


"Exchanges and cooperation between Russia and North Korea should comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and be pursued in a manner that contributes to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," Kim said.

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