Russia has warned North Korea that continued nuclear threat could bring about an invasion. The warning came in the form of a written statement that came in response to North Korea’s threat of a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” in reaction to ongoing U.S.-South Korean war games. The statement declared, “We consider it to be absolutely impermissible to make public statements containing threats to deliver some ‘preventive nuclear strikes’ against opponents.”
As reported by the semi-official Russian TASS news agency, Russia stated, “Pyongyang should be aware of the fact that in this way the DPRK [North Korea] 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.”
Just the same, Russia also critiqued the United States and South Korea for their joint defense maneuvers, which it characterized as “unprecedented.”
“The development of the situation on the Korean peninsula and around it is causing growing concern,” said the statement.
Beginning on March 7, the joint U.S./South Korean war games simulated strikes on North Korea’s nuclear weapons facilities, as well as special forces raids again the leadership in Pyongyang that were described as “decapitation” operations. About 17,000 U.S. military and another 300,000 South Koreans are participating in the two-month long maneuvers. The number of troops involve an increase of one third over the related war games of 2015.
The level of North Korea’s threats has increased over the last few months. In January, it carried out its fourth nuclear weapons test, and also launched a missile in violation of international sanctions. James Clapper, the Obama administration’s Direct of National Intelligence, told Congress in February that the pariah state has restarted its plutonium reactor and is on the path (as is Iran, its ally) to produce weapons-grade nuclear material within weeks.
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