Lavrov: US antimissile deployment in Asia-Pacific ‘disproportionate’ to Pyongyang threat

South Korea’s decision to deploy the THAAD antimissile system from the US is disproportionate to the threat posed by North Korea, which was voiced as justification by both Seoul and Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“We have drawn attention to the serious risks posed by the deployment of the US global antiballistic missile system in Asia-Pacific,” Lavrov said after meeting his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Moscow. The two ministers met alongside their respective military colleagues, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada.

 
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea © USFK

“We have voiced our assessments, according to which, if one wants to deal with threats posed by DPRK, the creation of such ABM system as well as pumping weapons into the region are a response far from proportionate,” Lavrov said.

He added that both Moscow and Tokyo condemn Pyongyang’s violation of resolutions of the UN Security Council restricting its missile and nuclear development. Russia believes that international sanctions imposed against North Korea for defying the council “should not be perceived as an instrument of punishment, but rather a stimulus for steering the situation back into political and negotiations track.”

South Korea decided to deploy the THAAD system, due to be fully operational by August, saying it was necessary to protect from a possible missile attack by North Korea. The deployment angered China, which believes that the American system compromises its national security. Beijing is reportedly retaliating against Seoul with a round of economic measures, hitting Korean tourism and export to China.

Russia has similar concerns over the US deployment of ABM shield in Eastern Europe. Washington claims the system is needed to protect European NATO members from an attack by Iran and has brushed aside criticism from Moscow.

 

  • Published in World

N. Korea threatens ‘merciless’ strikes as US, S. Korea & Japan hold joint drills

North Korea has warned that it will launch “merciless” strikes if the US strike group that arrived for two days of trilateral drills with South Korea and Japan infringes on Pyongyang’s “sovereignty and dignity.”

© US Army

“If they infringe on the DPRK’s [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s] sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea, and underwater,” said the North’s state news agency, KCNA, as cited by Reuters.

Pyongyang pointed out that “many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army.”

North Korea has been steadily pounding the South and the US with strong rhetoric. KCNA reported on Monday that “if even a single shell is fired into the territory in which the sovereignty of the DPRK is exercised, the bases of aggression and provocation will be reduced to such debris that no living thing can be found.”

“The US should properly understand that its slightest misjudgment about the DPRK will lead it to final doom,” the agency added.

The latest statement comes as, on Tuesday, US, Japanese, and South Korean Navy forces kicked off joint two-day drills to the east of the Korean peninsula and north of Japan with the participation of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) , South Korean Sejong the Great (DDG- 991), and Japanese Kirishima (DDG-174) missile destroyers.

The exercises are being billed as “promoting communications, interoperability, and partnership in the 7th Fleet area of operations.”

“The exercise will employ tactical data link systems to trade communications, intelligence and other data among the ships in the exercise. It will allow participants to enhance tactical capabilities, increase self-defense, strengthen partnerships, and improved situational awareness,” the US navy said in a statement.

Pyongyang launched four missiles to show their discontent with the war games on March 5.

Tensions with the North were also exacerbated when America’s ambassador to the UN said that the US’ new administration is reviewing its Korea strategy, stressing that “all options are on the table.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Havana