Alar Karis: Past struggles, present threats unify Estonia and South Korea

President Alar Karis in South Korea
President Alar Karis in South Korea Source: Raigo Pajula/President's Office

The phenomenon of authoritarian countries such as Russia and North Korea starting to work together more closely is a concern for democracy and has a global impact, including in regard to the Ukrainian people's struggle for freedom, President Alar Karis says.

Speaking to students at the prestigious Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul Thursday, President Alar Karis, who has been on an official visit to South Korea this week, described North Korea's decision to supply arms and ammunition to Russia as a clear indication of the direct links between the security of Estonia and the security of South Korea.

North Korea supplying Russia directly supports the continuation of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the Estonian president said.

"Russia's war against Ukraine is putting the credibility of the democratic world to the test," he said.

"Authoritarian regimes everywhere are keeping a close eye on how the United States and the free world as a whole respond to this attack on international law and democratic values. If they begin to sense that democratic nations are helpless and will succumb to pressure, no country or region in close proximity to an authoritarian regime will be able to feel safe," the head of state continued, via a press release.

Authoritarian countries starting to work more closely together, forming a single front in pushing the boundaries between the permissible and the impermissible and ignoring the UN Charter, was also of grave concern, Karis went on.

"This has also exposed the impotence of the UN Security Council, since one of its permanent members is the aggressor in this war."

The president noted that for South Korea, as for Estonia, the 20th century meant a decisive battle for freedom and against imperialistic ambitions, while at the same time, the current situation means that: "As such, even for countries as far apart geographically as Estonia and South Korea, how Russia's war against Ukraine ends will prove decisive for both of us."

The president added that Estonia is planning to increase its spending on national defense to 3 percent of GDP even as only around one third of NATO member countries so far having raised theirs to this level.

The Estonian Defense Forces have taken delivery of consignments of South Korean-made K9 "Thunder" self-propelled howitzers.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: President's Office

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