North Korea-Russia arms trade a global threat, says South Korea President Yoon

FILE PHOTO: South Korea's Yoon to address his 2024 plans in TV interview

(Reuters) - North Korea's arms trade with Russia is a threat to global peace, and strength and alliances among liberal democracies are critical in safeguarding freedom from "reckless elements", South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday.

Yoon made the comments in Hawaii, where he discussed the importance of the combined defence posture of U.S. and South Korean forces with the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Paparo, the president's office said in a statement.

"North Korea threatens peace not only on the Korean peninsula but also globally by engaging in illegal weapons trade with Russia," Yoon said in his remarks to U.S. military leaders and troops.

Yoon stopped in Hawaii on his way to Washington to attend a NATO summit, representing one of its four Asia-Pacific partners.

Concerns over North Korea's military buildup are deepening after it signed a pact with Russia last month that includes a mutual defence agreement, Yoon said.

"In order to protect our freedom and democracy and economic prosperity from these reckless elements, solidarity among countries that share values as well as strength is essential."

Yoon has warned Russia over its deepening military ties with North Korea. Seoul and Washington say North Korea has been supplying artillery and ballistic missiles to Russia for use in Ukraine, which both Moscow and Pyongyang deny.

(Reporting by Jack Kim in Seoul; Editing by Jamie Freed)