South Korea may expand its support for Ukraine beyond humanitarian and economic aid if it faces a large-scale attack on its civilian population, the country's President Yoon Suk-yeol said in an interview with Reuters, "signaling for the first time a change in its stance against arming Ukraine."
In an interview with Reuters ahead of his state visit to the United States next week, Yoon said his government was studying how to help defend and rebuild Ukraine, just as South Korea received international aid during the 1950-53 Korean War.
"If a situation arises that the international community cannot tolerate, such as any large-scale attack on civilians, a massacre or a serious violation of the laws of war, it may be difficult for us to insist on humanitarian or financial support alone," Yun said.
This was the first time that Seoul declared its readiness to provide weapons to Ukraine more than a year after ruling out the possibility of lethal aid, the agency noted.
A key U.S. ally and major producer of artillery munitions, South Korea is said to have so far tried to avoid antagonizing Russia over its companies operating there and Moscow's influence over North Korea, despite increasing pressure from Western countries to supply arms.
"I believe that there will be no limit on the amount of support for the defense and rehabilitation of a country that has been illegally invaded under both international and national law," Yun said. and developments on the battlefield, we will take the most appropriate measures."
Yun plans to visit Washington next week for a high-level meeting with US President Joe Biden to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the two countries.