Advertisement

S. Korea spy chief: Russia sought to broker joint exercises with China, N. Korea

Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu (L) in July attempted to broker joint naval exercises involving China and North Korea, South Korean officials claimed Monday. File Photo courtesy of Korean Central News Agency
Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu (L) in July attempted to broker joint naval exercises involving China and North Korea, South Korean officials claimed Monday. File Photo courtesy of Korean Central News Agency

Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Russia in July attempted to broker joint naval exercises involving China and North Korea, South Korea's intelligence chief claimed Monday.

Kim Kyou-hyun, head of the South Korean National Intelligence Service, briefed parliament Monday during a closed-door meeting. He later repeated the claim to reporters during a news conference.

The offer to conduct three-way naval exercises reportedly took place during a visit to North Korea by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in July. Shoigu was in North Korea from July 25 to 27, where he met with leader Kim Jong Un.

It was not apparent from reports when the proposed naval exercise would have taken place.

NIS officials believe the offer was made in response to Operation Ulchi Freedom Shield, a major annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea. The operation was conducted over the final 10 days of August.

The offer to conduct three-way naval exercises reportedly took place during Sergei Shoigu's visit to North Korea (pictured) between July 25 and 27, where he met with leader Kim Jong Un (C). File Photo courtesy of Korean Central News Agency
The offer to conduct three-way naval exercises reportedly took place during Sergei Shoigu's visit to North Korea (pictured) between July 25 and 27, where he met with leader Kim Jong Un (C). File Photo courtesy of Korean Central News Agency

Pyongyang is often highly critical of the allies' joint military drills, calling them preparation for an invasion.

American and South Korean officials have repeatedly stressed the defensive elements of the exercises, which are in their 23rd incarnation.

South Korean officials believe the offer was made in response to Operation Ulchi Freedom Shield (2016 pictured), a major annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea, which was conducted over the final 10 days of August. File Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Service
South Korean officials believe the offer was made in response to Operation Ulchi Freedom Shield (2016 pictured), a major annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea, which was conducted over the final 10 days of August. File Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Service

The news comes after North Korea on Sunday simulated a tactical nuclear attack.

The exercise using mock nuclear warheads was intended to warn the United States of its nuclear capabilities, according to the country's state news agency.