VIA| North Korea’s near-incessant saber-rattling and provocative missile launches have resulted in a stern rebuke from one of its few allies, Russia. The regime of Vladimir Putin just warned that continued nuclear threats by Pyongyang could warrant a military invasion.
And the Kremlin’s stern advisory to the government of Kim Jong-un appears, in a way, to align itself with United States’ interests.
After learning that the U.S. and South Korea would be stepping up joint military exercises, North Koreastated that it would “liberate” South Korea and strike the American mainland with nuclear weapons should the joint training forces make a “minor, threatening” movement to overthrow the North Korean leadership.
“The army and people of the DPRK will launch an all-out offensive to decisively counter the U.S. and its followers’ hysterical nuclear war moves to plunge our republic,” wrote the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday, when the annual ROK-U.S. joint training was announced.
In response to the threats, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement: “We consider it to be absolutely impermissible to make public statements containing threats to deliver some ‘preventive nuclear strikes’ against opponents.” The Kremlin’s criticism of Pyongyang’s provocation added:
“Pyongyang should be aware of the fact that in this way the DPRK will become fully opposed to the international community and will create international legal grounds for using military force against itself in accordance with the right of a state to self-defense enshrined in the United Nations Charter.”
Washington and Seoul’s joint training exercises are their largest ever, with 300,000 South Korean troops and 17,000 U.S. troops participating,” said Moon Sang-kyun, the Defense Ministry’s spokesperson, who emphasized that the exercise is solely for defensive purposes.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the exercises included “rehearsals of surgical strikes on North Korea’s main nuclear and missile facilities and ‘decapitation raids’ by special forces targeting the North’s leadership.”
In its warning to North Korea about nuclear threats to the United States, Russia also condemned the scale of the U.S.-S.K. training which it says is “unprecedented” in size and puts “military and political pressure on Pyongyang,” which no doubt “feels concern for its safety.”