Pyongyang calls NATO chief’s Seoul visit ‘prelude to war’

Seoul, Jan 30 (EFE).- North Korea on Monday denounced NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s current visit to South Korea, calling it a “prelude to confrontation and war.”

“It will be nothing good if NATO, a synonym for war and confrontation, puts its military boots on the region,” Society for International Politics Study in North Korea researcher Kim Tong-myong said in an article published Monday by the state news agency KCNA.

“The trip of the NATO secretary general to south Korea and Japan is a prelude to confrontation and war as it brings the dark clouds of a ‘new Cold War’ to the Asia-Pacific region. Regional countries and the international community should remain highly vigilant against the frequent footsteps of NATO toward Asia-Pacific.”

In the text, Kim claimed that “NATO has long made persistent attempts to expand its sphere of influence limited to European defense to the Asia-Pacific region, which rose to be the strategic center of the world” and pointed to the Madrid summit last June, in which Japan and South Korea participated for the first time, as an example of this.

“NATO, which specified Russia as the ‘greatest and direct threat’ and China as a ‘systematic challenge’ in its new ‘strategic concept’ last year, is now openly stretching its long arm to south Korea and Japan. Its aim is quite clear,” the researcher added.

Pyongyang’s response comes a day after Stoltenberg arrived in Seoul for a two-day official visit and met South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin-in on Sunday.

“I think that in a more unpredictable and uncertain world, it’s even more important that countries that believe in freedom and democracy in rules-based international order stand together,” Stoltenberg said on Sunday.

“We are, of course, concerned about the reckless missile tests and nuclear programs of North Korea. And the war in Ukraine has also ramifications for your region. And we also know that North Korea is providing military support to the Russian war efforts with rockets and missiles. And this just highlights how we are interconnected.”

During his stay in Seoul, Stoltenberg will meet with President Yoon Suk-yeol and other members of the government before traveling to Japan on Monday.

“Our visit is a strong expression of the great importance we attach to the partnership between the Republic of Korea and the NATO,” Stoltenberg said. “There are many areas where we really believe that even stronger partnership between the Republic of Korea and NATO can be a mutual benefit.” EFE


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