North Korea criticized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for “irresponsible and provocative” remarks last week about deepening military ties between the North and Russia, saying destabilizing actions by the US and its partners on the Korean Peninsula would be met with strong countermeasure.
The top US diplomat said Pyongyang is providing military equipment to Moscow to use for its war in Ukraine, while the North in return receives technical support to advance its military programs. The North and Russia have denied the accusations.
“No matter what others say, friendly and cooperative relations between the North and Russia for independence, peace and friendship will grow stronger without disruptions,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday carried by its official Korean Central News Agency.
“The US should get used to dealing with a new reality of new ties,” the statement added.
Following talks Thursday with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, Blinken said Washington and its partners like Seoul would work to curb such “two-way street” arms transfers actions that not only violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions, but also destabilize global security.
The US top diplomat, wrapping up his two-day visit to Seoul that day, urged China to restrain the North using its influence. Beijing has been the immediate benefactor, wielding UN veto power to defeat sanction proposals while extending an economic lifeline to a regime grappling with perennial food shortages.
Blinken’s trip — part of a broader Asia tour that saw stops in Japan, South Korea and India after a visit to the Middle East — is the latest highlight of US commitment to underscoring extended deterrence, a strategy that gives Seoul a say in how Washington manages its nuclear assets to discourage a North Korean strike.
According to a parliamentary briefing two weeks ago by South Korea’s spy agency, Pyongyang is close to launching what it calls a “spy satellite.” The agency did not detail how extensive Moscow’s technical assistance was for what would be the North’s third attempt to put a satellite into orbit. Seoul and Washington suspect the launch, banned under UNSC resolutions, is meant to advance weapons technologies.
In a separate dispatch by the KCNA on Sunday, the North called for disbanding the Group of Seven, following their foreign ministers’ meeting last week in Tokyo. The seven major industrial powers — which condemned Pyongyang and Moscow for arms transfers and invading Ukraine, respectively — represent the “old-school aristocrats without a mandate or title,” the commentary said.
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