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North Korea slams upcoming Seoul trips by top US officials

By AFP

November 8, 2023 11:30 AM


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North Korean state media on Wednesday slammed upcoming visits to Seoul by the United States' top diplomat and defence chief as "provocative" acts that would raise tensions in the region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive late Wednesday and will meet his South Korean counterpart Park Jin the following day to discuss issues including nuclear-armed North Korea, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

His two-day trip will be followed by a visit by US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin to Seoul next week for minister-level meetings.

"Uninvited guests from across the ocean will seek the extreme confrontation on the Korean peninsula which is the biggest hotspot in the world and has reached the height of explosion," said a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

"This provocative act reminds one of the visits of the warmongers for field inspection to ignite the second Korean war," the commentary added.

Blinken and Lloyd's visits will bring "new war clouds" to the region, it said.

The visit comes as Seoul and Washington ramp up defence cooperation in the face of a record-breaking series of weapons tests by Pyongyang this year.

A US nuclear-weapons-capable B-52 bomber made a rare landing in South Korea last month, less than a week after a South Korean port visit by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

It also comes as North Korea is strengthening its relations with Russia.

Russia and North Korea, who are historic allies, are both under a raft of global sanctions -- Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, and Pyongyang for its testing of nuclear weapons.

The countries' leaders, Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, held a summit in September in Russia's far east, with Seoul and Washington subsequently claiming that Pyongyang had begun providing Moscow with weapons.

South Korea's spy agency said last week Pyongyang appeared to have received Russian advice on satellite technology in return.

North Korea has failed twice this year in its bid to put a military spy satellite into orbit and is in the final stages of preparing for a third launch, according to the spy agency.



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