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N. Korea criticizes US weapons package for Taiwan

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 4, 2023 - 09:32

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center), alongside Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong (right), observes a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, on July 27, to mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War. (KCNA) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center), alongside Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong (right), observes a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, on July 27, to mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War. (KCNA)

North Korea warned Friday that Washington's plan to provide weapons to Taiwan reflects its "sinister intention" to deter China and will heighten regional tensions to an "ignition point of war."

Last week, the United States announced its plan to provide military aid worth up to $345 million, which involves the transfer of weaponry to Taiwan from Washington's own stockpile, in what was seen as bolstering Taiwan's self-defense capabilities against China.

"The US says in public that it abides by the principle of one China but instigates in the rear the 'independence' of Taiwan, inseparable part of China," a North Korean foreign ministry official said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, branding the move as "double-dealing" by the US.

Maeong Yong-rim, director-general of the Department of Chinese Affairs at the North's Foreign Ministry, claimed the US aims to make Taiwan the "first-line trench for carrying out its strategy for deterring China" to ultimately secure a "hegemonic" position in the Asia-Pacific region.

The official reaffirmed Pyongyang's commitment to help China defend its sovereignty and achieve the "sacred cause of unification," warning that Washington would face unspecified consequences should it continue to "provoke" Beijing.

"If the US persists in dangerous acts of provoking the core interests of China while repeatedly violating the red line set by China in the Taiwan issue, it will surely have to pay a high price for them," Maeng said.

The statement comes as the North is increasingly seeking closer ties with China, its biggest ally and economic benefactor, alongside Russia, in the face of strengthened trilateral security cooperation among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently appeared for a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Li Hongzhong, a politburo member of the Chinese Communist Party. They were the first foreign delegations to visit the North since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Yonhap)