Only force can prevent nuclear war in Korea, says N. Korean defense minister

Posted on : 2023-08-17 13:47 KST Modified on : 2023-08-17 13:47 KST
The comments came in a speech read out at the Moscow Conference on International Security, where North Korea stressed military cooperation with Russia
A Russian ICBM, the Yars, sits outside the hall where the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security took place on Aug. 15. (AFP/Yonhap)
A Russian ICBM, the Yars, sits outside the hall where the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security took place on Aug. 15. (AFP/Yonhap)

North Korea argued that the US is driving the Korean Peninsula toward the brink of nuclear war, which it said could only be prevented by force. North Korea and China are bolstering military cooperation with Russia as they form a front aimed at South Korea and Japan, both American allies.

Russia’s TASS news agency reported that North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam made the argument in a speech read on his behalf by the defense attaché at the North Korean Embassy to Russia during the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security on Tuesday.

“The United States, which has been pursuing a hostile policy toward [North] Korea as a state policy and has been blatantly infringing upon North Korea’s independent development and security interests, is driving the situation in Northeast Asia to the verge of a nuclear war outbreak. America [. . .] since the beginning of this year has deployed to South Korea huge strategic nuclear [assets], including a nuclear-powered submarine, a strategic bomber, and a nuclear aircraft carrier battle group and has conducted several [huge] joint military drills imitating a total war with us,” Kang wrote in his speech.

“Now, the question is not [. . .] whether a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula breaks out or not,” the North Korean defense minister asserted, but rather when and how it will be unleashed, and by whom.

“This once again confirms the philosophy that [resolving] the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and negotiations is just an empty echo, and the only and precise way [to prevent] a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula lies in having military deterrence forces.”

In the same speech, Kang stressed military cooperation with Russia.

According to Kang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un communicated his assessment of the rapidly changing international security environment and the military and political situation on the Korean Peninsula and related principles during several meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Kim also emphasized his commitment to further developing cooperation with Russia in the areas of national defense and security and tactical and strategic exchange between them.

Defense Minister Li Shangfu of China also attended the security conference in Moscow.

“As a staunch force in maintaining global peace, the Chinese military is willing to work with the militaries of other countries to enhance the strategic mutual trust in military security and the practical cooperation in various professional fields, jointly establish a platform for security cooperation, and make new and greater contributions to upholding global security,” he said.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said that Li discussed forms of cooperation between China and Russia during his bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

China and Russia carried out joint naval exercises involving ten naval vessels and 30 military aircraft in the East Sea (also known as the Sea of Japan) on July 20-23. Early in August, 11 naval vessels from the two countries convened in waters near Alaska.

By Cho Ki-weon, staff reporter

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