Yoon Suk-yeol: Countries must stand up, defend freedom and peace

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called on the international community to stand together to tackle threats against freedom and peace.

Yoon made his first address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday since taking office in May.

He said that the global community's peace and freedom are being jeopardized by attempts to change the status quo by force and the threat of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Yoon also said they're being threatened by systematic violations of human rights depriving millions of children of their future.

He stressed that such threats must be overcome through "solidarity and fearless commitment to the framework of global norms consolidated over the years within the UN system."

Yoon said his country was able to become what it is today thanks to efforts by the United Nations. He pledged that South Korea will fulfill its responsibilities to promote peace and prosperity around the world together with the UN.

South Korean media say Yoon's speech was apparently referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China's increasing assertiveness in the international community and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Yoon made no mention of Japan in the speech. Asked by reporters if he plans to hold talks with Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, who is also in New York, he did not answer.