Despite Putin’s assurance that the agreement would not threaten South Korea’s security, Seoul seemed unsettled and embarked on a series of provocative actions. South Korea announced a substantial $920 million arms deal with Romania and hinted at the possibility of supplying weapons to Ukraine. These moves were seen by China as direct provocations intended to pressure Russia into severing ties with North Korea.

Putin’s response was swift and contrary to Seoul’s expectations. The Russian president made it clear that any South Korean decision to supply arms to Russia’s neighbors would be a grave mistake. Putin warned that if South Korea ignored his caution and proceeded with its plans, Russia’s retaliatory measures would be harsh and unwelcome.

“Putin’s firm response to Yoon Suk-yeol’s provocation shows that South Korea clearly underestimated Russia’s position,” concluded the Chinese journalists.