S. Korea preparing for war, DPRK ambassador to Russia tells press

Ambassador warns S. Korea could spark "full-fledged war"
February 4th, 2014
4

South Korea is not responding to North Korea’s efforts for peace and is preparing for nuclear war, North Korean ambassador to Russia Kim Yong Jae said on Tuesday.

Speaking to a press conference in Moscow, the ambassador said that despite the DPRK’s efforts to push for peace, South Korea was still going ahead with annual joint Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises which Pyongyang sees as preparations for an invasion of the North.

“Now that important proposals on stopping all slander campaigns have been published, North Korea has unilaterally stopped all campaigns and other actions that could irritate the South Korean administration,” the ambassador said in comments reported by Russia’s Interfax news.

He insisted that North Korea “has made a decision to be the first to take practical steps to fully stop all hostile military and other actions in the air, at sea, and on the military demarcation line, including in the problem areas around five islands in the Yellow (West) Sea”.

In particular the ambassador called on South Korea to halt its annual joint military drills with the United States, saying “we consider these exercises to be aggressive and dangerous because they from beginning to end constitute preparations for a nuclear war against North Korea and are conducted under the guise of defensive and annual training exercises.”

Similar to remarks made by other North Korean ambassadors to media in recent weeks, Kim warned that “the current situation on the Korean Peninsula is such that even an accidental armed conflict could cause a full-fledged war”.

SIX PARTY PLEDGE

The ambassador also used the press conference to explain North Korea was not opposed to the resumption of Six Party Talks on the denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, saying that “we are not opposed to the launch of negotiations and a genuine discussion of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region”.

“We are concerned that the hope for a resumption of the six-nation negotiations is fading away because of the invariably hostile U.S. policy towards our country; they are holding a policy of sanctions, thrusting unilateral dismantlement of the nuclear program on us and setting unfounded preconditions,” he was reported as saying by Interfax news.

“We do not object to the resumption of the negotiations but until the U.S. demonstrates its readiness to stop its hostile policy towards the DPRK, which is the primary source of the problem of the Korean Peninsula, we will never make unilateral progress on that”.

At the conference Ambassador Kim praised DPRK-Russian relations and economic co-operation, citing the successful construction and opening  of a railroad between Rajin (North Korea) and Hassan (Russia) and the building of gas and oil pipelines as evidence of the two nations’ positive ties.

Russia has in the past expressed interest in seeing a prompt resumption of the Six Party Talks, with President Vladimir Putin using a November 2013 visit to South Korea to call for their resumption “without preconditions”.

Putin made the suggestion during an in interview with the Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS), pointing out that the DPRK and Russia traditionally had good relations, which he described as an “advantage”.

“If we constantly set preconditions for the start of talks, they may never begin,” Putin said, “It seems to me that it would be better if the talks resumed and all the participants returned to the negotiating table and then resolved the issues that had brought them together”.

Russia and North Korea do have significant shared business interests, and Russia has in the past provided North Korea with diplomatic support, speaking out against the continued American presence on the Korean peninsula last year.

Picture : Wikimedia commons

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About the Author

Oliver Hotham

Oliver Hotham is an NK News contributor based in London. He has previously worked at the Sunday Times and politics.co.uk.