President: Security picture for Estonia, South Korea interconnected

  • 2023-10-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - North Korea's decision to send munitions and weapons to Russia and thereby support the continuation of the war of aggression against Ukraine is an obvious example of how the security picture for South Korea and Estonia are interconnected, Estonian President Alar Karis told students at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.

The head of state said that, just as for Estonia, the 20th century has meant a decisive struggle for freedom and against imperialist ambitions for the Republic of Korea. He recalled how,  in the last century, Estonia skilfully used the historical opportunity to achieve independence and restored it after the period of Soviet occupation.

The head of state highlighted the Ukrainian people's fight for freedom, as well as its global impact.

Russia's war against Ukraine is putting the credibility of the entire democratic world to a test. All authoritarian regimes are closely watching how the United States and the entire free world respond to the attack on international law and democratic values. If they begin to feel that democracies are helpless and will succumb to pressure, no country or region that is in the neighborhood of some authoritarian regime can feel safe, Karis said. 

The Estonian head of state expressed his concern that authoritarian nations have intensified cooperation by shifting the boundaries of what is permitted and what is not permitted as a united front and are ignoring the provisions of the UN Charter.

"The helplessness of the UN Security Council has also been revealed, as one of its permanent members is an aggressor," he added.

Ukraine has become a moment of truth, as a challenge has been made to the foundations of international law, in particular the principles of free self-determination and territorial integrity, as well as the UN Charter as a whole. Thus, even in geographically distant countries -- such as Estonia and South Korea -- the outcome of Russia's war against Ukraine will be equally decisive, the Estonian president added.

Sungkyunkwan University is a private university founded in 1398 that is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in South Korea.