South Korea’s Yoon, US spy chief to discuss North Korea-Russia ties, report says

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US spy chief Avril Haines will be in South Korea and meet President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and a recent pact between Moscow and Pyongyang pledging closer military ties, a news report said on Thursday.

Haines will meet Yoon and discuss the deepening Russia-North Korea ties and Pyongyang’s provocative moves, the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, citing an unnamed national security official.

The meeting will be unofficial and there is no plan to make their discussions public, the official was quoted as saying.

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Yoon’s office said it cannot confirm the report.

A spokesperson for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) declined to comment.

Nuclear-armed North Korea said on Thursday it had successfully tested a missile that can deploy multiple warheads striking different targets under a goal set by its leader Kim Jong Un to perfect a range of strategic and tactical weapons.

On his first visit to North Korea in 24 years, Russian President and Kim signed a mutual defense pact, alarming officials in Seoul and Washington amid allegations that Pyongyang has been supplying arms to Russia to fight Ukraine.

Moscow and Pyongyang deny such arms transactions.

Following the signing of the military pact by Kim and Putin, South Korea said it would review the possibility of supplying arms directly to Ukraine, reversing a position it had maintained despite pressure from Washington and the West.

South Korea has emerged as a major arms exporter, aiming to become the world’s fourth-largest supplier of weapons.

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