North Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday slammed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments on Pyongyang’s relations with Moscow, saying the remarks would “only escalate the dangerous political and military tension” on the peninsula.
Blinken was in Seoul earlier this week after attending a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan. He met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and other top officials.
During his visit to the South Korean capital, he said military ties between Pyongyang and Moscow were “growing and dangerous”, and urged Beijing, Pyongyang’s main ally, to restrain the nuclear-armed North.
Pyongyang on Saturday condemned Blinken and said his comments were “irresponsible and provocative”.
The remarks “only escalate the dangerous political and military tension in the Korean peninsula and the region”, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“The U.S. should be accustomed to the new reality of the DPRK-Russia relations,” it added, using the North’s official name.
Historic allies Russia and North Korea are both under international sanctions -- the former for its invasion of Ukraine and the latter over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Their growing military cooperation has been a source of concern for Ukraine and its allies, especially following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.
Seoul has said that Pyongyang sent one million artillery rounds to bolster Moscow’s war in Ukraine in exchange for advice on satellite technology.
Pyongyang said Saturday that “no matter what others may say, the friendly and cooperative relations between the DPRK and Russia aspiring after independence, peace and friendship will steadily grow stronger”.
Following Blinken’s visit, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is set to meet with his South Korean counterpart on Monday in Seoul, as the South and the US ramp up their own defense cooperation.