North Korea: Warns of 7th Nuclear Test if Provoked
On January 7th (local time), Russian Ambassador to North Korea, Alexandro Matsegora, warned that North Korea might conduct a seventh nuclear test if U.S. provocations continue.
In an interview with TASS Russian News Agency, Ambassador Matsegora stated, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(North Korea) does not seek war,” but he added, “Whether 2024 will be a peaceful year for the Korean Peninsula or a year of military conflict entirely depends on the U.S.”
Machegora emphasized this point, noting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently said at the Supreme People’s Assembly that the DPRK would “never unilaterally launch a war unless the enemies touch it.”
Matsegora expressed that if the U.S. continues to take provocative actions in the region, North Korea might carry out a new nuclear test. Regarding Western claims that North Korea is preparing for a seventh nuclear test, he stated, “Western countries and UN officials cannot know in advance whether preparations are underway for a seventh nuclear test here(in North Korea),” dismissing such rhetoric as mere ‘speculation.’
Matsegora said, “Whether there will be additional nuclear tests in North Korea depends on how the military and political situation on the Korean Peninsula unfolds.” He added, “If the nuclear deterrence of the U.S. and South Korea expands, or if provocative actions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue, or if U.S. Air Force strategic bombers continue to fly over the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean leadership may conduct new nuclear tests to further strengthen its defense capabilities.”
Ambassador Matsegora said that the responsibility for the unpleasant situation lies “entirely with Washington(U.S.)” and also with the South Korean government. However, TASS reported that Matsegora acknowledged that the South Korean government has little dependence on its responsibility.
Furthermore, Matsegora expressed concern about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, suggesting that the U.S. could carry out military provocations in East Asia. He emphasized, “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is a major concern due to the U.S.’s adventurous policy.” He mentioned U.S. policies in the Middle East, such as attacks on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and said the U.S. could initiate similar attacks on the Korean Peninsula.
He mentioned that one of the Republican candidates, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, advocated for the assassination of the Iranian leadership and that during the Donald Trump administration, the U.S. killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, asking, “How can we be sure that the U.S. does not have similar objectives against North Korea?”
The possibility of a visit to North Korea by Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasing. North Korea and Russia are preparing a joint document to be signed by the leaders of both countries in line with Putin’s visit. Ambassador Matsegora said, “One of the documents included in the package that is currently being prepared for signing (in line with Putin’s visit) is an agreement on mutual tourism between the two countries’ citizens.” He added, “We will look into what can be done to create the most comfortable conditions for Russian tourists who want to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Matsegora was noncommittal about the timing of Putin’s visit to North Korea. When Chairman Kim Jong Un visited Russia in September last year, Putin accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea.
The cooperation between North Korea and Russia is expanding from military cooperation to economic cooperation. According to “The New York Times” ” Despite UN sanctions against North Korea, Russia allowed its financial institutions to withdraw $9 million from the frozen North Korean funds of $30 million (about 40 billion KRW or approximately $33.6 million). U.S. authorities expect North Korea to use this money to purchase crude oil.