Russia warns of new crisis in Korea
The Korean Peninsula could soon descend into a new crisis, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned. A senior diplomat has attributed the rising tensions primarily to an increasing US military presence in the region.
Speaking to the news agency TASS on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Monday, Georgy Zinoviev, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s First Asia Department, warned that the “dynamics of events on the Korean Peninsula indicates that a new crisis is approaching.”
He pointed to increasingly warlike rhetoric coming from both North Korea and the US, as well as South Korea and Japan. The diplomat also noted that Washington and its allies have been ramping up joint military maneuvers in the region.
“For example, for the first time since 1981 an American Kentucky submarine with nuclear-capable ballistic missiles has appeared in South Korean waters,” Zinoviev told reporters.
He also noted that trilateral US-South Korea-Japan missile defense exercises are being held more regularly than before.
Washington’s claims that these drills are purely defensive in nature are hard to believe, he said, adding that the maneuvers also have “anti-Russian and anti-Chinese undertones.”
He went on to stress that de-escalation would only be possible if the US and its regional allies put on hold their military maneuvers and revised their sanctions-based approach.
Last week, North Korea unveiled a new “tactical attack submarine” capable of launching nuclear missiles in a ceremony attended by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
The North Korean leader also revealed that Pyongyang was working to remodel existing submarines so that they, too, could carry nuclear weapons.
Back in July, Washington deployed its USS Kentucky nuclear-capable submarine off the coast of South Korea, citing the need to counter “provocations.”
Earlier this month, North Korea announced that its military had conducted a “tactical nuclear attack” drill to “warn the enemies of the actual danger of nuclear war,” as reported by state news agency KCNA.
In mid-August, the country’s defense minister, General Kang Sun-nam, warned that a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula was inevitable.
The nuclear strike simulation came in the wake of US-South Korea Ulchi Freedom Shield 23 exercises that featured at least one American B-1B nuclear-capable strategic bomber.