Russian Ambassador warns of escalation risks due to US and South Korea exercises

The military exercises of the US and South Korea Ulchi Freedom Shield may serve as a pretext for the mobilization of the DPRK’s nuclear deterrence forces. This was announced on Monday, August 8, by Russian Ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora.

“Kim Jong-un said that he was ready to mobilize the DPRK’s nuclear war deterrent forces as a response to a crisis situation that could arise if military provocations by the Americans or South Koreans continue,” he explained in an interview with TASS.

According to Matsegora, the joint events between Washington and Seoul, which should start on August 22, can be perceived precisely as a provocation. He added that the US and South Korean authorities are aware that such maneuvers are fraught with the risk of escalation, but this understanding does not stop them.

“It turns out that they themselves are pushing the North Koreans to react on the principle of “point on point”. This is what causes the most serious concern,” the diplomat concluded.

Earlier, on August 1, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the DPRK was preparing to conduct the seventh nuclear test. He called the country’s nuclear program illegal.

Chairman of the State Council of the DPRK Kim Jong-un said on July 28 that the DPRK is ready for military clashes with the United States. According to Pyotr Kolchin, an analyst with the Center for Expert Support of Political Processes, which he expressed on July 28, North Korea has demonstrated its readiness for challenges from potential adversaries.

Meanwhile, on July 26, analyst Sergei Kondratiev assessed the nuclear danger of the DPRK as low. Despite advances in rocket science, Pyongyang still has problems developing nuclear weapon delivery systems. It is also important that North Korea is not interested in open conflict with other countries, Kondratyev stressed.

In June, a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was published, which noted that today the risk of an actual use of nuclear weapons is at the highest level since the end of the Cold War. Experts are confident that all the powers of the “nuclear club” (Russia, the United States, Great Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) intend to increase the number of warheads in the coming years if the tension between the world powers is not resolved.

Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1993. The state finally withdrew from it in January 2003. In September 2017, the DPRK announced the successful explosion of a hydrogen charge, after which it announced the completion of the development of nuclear weapons, declaring itself a nuclear power.

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