North Korea rages at ‘irresponsible and provocative’ Antony Blinken remarks

Kim Jong-un expresses support for Russia in meeting with Putin

North Korea has raged at US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on Pyongyang’s relations with Russia, branding them “irresponsible and provocative.”

Blinken travelled to Seoul earlier this week after attending the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan, and met with top officials including South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

During his visit there, he warned the military ties between North Korea and Russia are “growing and dangerous”. He also urged China – a strong ally of Pyongyang – to restrain the nuclear-armed North.

But the remarks from Blinken have triggered a furious response from North Korea – threatening to escalate already tense relations between the two countries.

Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said the comments “only escalate the dangerous political and military tension in the Korean peninsula and the region,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Using the North’s official name, it continued: “The US should be accustomed to the new reality of the DPRK-Russia relations.”

Pyongyang also insisted: “No matter what others may say, the friendly and cooperative relations between the DPRK and Russia aspiring after independence, peace and friendship will steadily grow stronger”.

Following talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Foreign Minister Park Jin, US Secretary of State Blinken said the two countries have “profound concerns” about the “growing and dangerous military cooperation.”

He told reporters in Seoul: “We share profound concerns about the DPRK’s growing and dangerous military cooperation with Russia.”

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Blinken added: “With regard to DPRK-Russia cooperation, this is a matter of deep concern for both of us as well as for other countries around the world, and we’re seeing a two-way street.

“We’re seeing the DPRK provide military equipment to Russia for pursuing its aggression against Ukraine, but we’re also seeing Russia provide technology and support to the DPRK for its own military programs.

“And that’s a real concern for the security of the Korean Peninsula, it’s a real concern for global nonproliferation regimes, it’s a real concern for the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and a real concern for its violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

North Korea and Russia have been strong allies for several years – with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un meeting on several occasions for talks.

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But both global superpowers have been hit with crushing international sanctions from the West – North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missile programs, and Russia for its continued invasion of Ukraine.

Western powers have continued to voice their fears over the growing military ties between the two countries, particularly in the weeks following Kim’s summit with Putin in September.

South Korea has claimed North Korea has sent one million artillery rounds to Russia to boost its war in Ukraine, in exchange for advice on satellite technology.

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