(2nd LD) S. Korea calls on Moscow to act responsibly as Russian deputy FM visits Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea has called for Moscow to act responsibly, the foreign ministry said Sunday, as a senior Russian diplomat visited Seoul for talks on regional security. Andrey Rudenko, the Russian deputy foreign minister in charge of the Asia-Pacific region, met with Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung-won on Friday and addressed the Ukrainian war and bilateral ties, the ministry said in a press release. Chung expressed South Korea's "stern stance" on Russia's growing military cooperation with North Korea and called for Moscow's "responsible behavior." He then urged Russia's cooperation to prevent any infringement on the legitimate rights of South Korean firms and citizens in Russia. During his visit, Rudenko also paid a courtesy visit on First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun and held talks with Kim Gunn, South Korea's top nuclear envoy. Kim called on Moscow to strictly comply with its obligations to United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the immediate cessation of its military ties with Pyongyang that threaten the security of the Korean Peninsula and Europe. Rudenko's trip comes amid a chasm between South Korea and Russia as the two sides stand at odds over President Yoon Suk Yeol's recent remarks on North Korea. On Wednesday, Yoon described the North as an "irrational group" and the only country in the world that has legalized the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova criticized Yoon's remarks for being "blatantly biased" in a commentary released the following day. In response, the Seoul foreign ministry summoned Russian Ambassador to South Korea Georgy Zinoviev to lodge a protest over the spokesperson's remark. Rudenko's visit was initially expected last September but was postponed at the last minute. Source: Yonhap News Agency