Foreign Minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pak Ui-Chun: U.S., South Korea are behind escalation on Korean Peninsula
Foreign Minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pak Ui-Chun in an interview with Interfax speaks about Pyongyang’s vision of the current situation on the Korean peninsula and has offered an assessment of Russian-North Korean cooperation in political and economic issues in the run-up to his visit to Russia.Question: Mr. Minister, how do you assess the present-day level of political cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Russia?
Answer: The agenda for my visit to the Russian Federation, due to take place on December 12-15 at the invitation of the Russian side, includes negotiations with the foreign minister of Russia, Mr. Lavrov, on issues surrounding bilateral relations and crucial international problems, as well as the signing of plans for exchanges between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries for 2011-2012.
I should say that today Korean-Russian relations continue developing positively in politics, the economy, culture and a wide variety of other spheres in the spirit of joint documents signed at the highest level since the start of the new millennium.
This year, which marks the 10th anniversary since the signing of the treaty on friendship, good neighborly relations and cooperation between the DPRK and Russia, the tenth anniversary since the publication of the joint Korean-Russian declaration, as well as the 65th anniversary of Korea’s liberation, has seen a vigorous exchange of delegations in various spheres.
I am speaking about the visit to our country by the Russian regional development minister, who serves as Russia’s co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation, as well as the visit to Russia by the land and environment preservation minister of the DPRK.
Mutual trips paid by DPRK citizens and residents of Russia’s Far East, Primorye and Khabarovsk territories are more active than ever.
Our great leader Comrade Kim Jong-Il and employees of the Russian Embassy watched the Eugene Onegin opera performed by our actors in February 2010 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary since the signing of the interstate treaty, as well as the joint May 1 concert given by artists from the two countries.
Our countries vigorously cooperate in the international arena as well.
Q.: What are the prospects for economic cooperation between Russia and the DPRK?
A.: In my opinion, it is highly important to strengthen the economic component of our relations.
The Democratic Republic of Korea, as a neighboring friendly state sharing a border with Russia, is particularly interested in promoting interregional cooperation.
I am glad that our countries actively cooperate in various sectors of the economy, including construction, the timber industry, the fisheries sector and agriculture.
Our agenda includes a series of promising and large-scale business projects.
A.: What is happening to the project of Trans-Siberian railroad and Trans-Korean railroad?
Q.: The Rajin-Khasan railway section and Rajin Port are being reconstructed as part of the first stage of a large-scale project aimed at connecting the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Trans-Korean Railway.
I think that the practical results of our bilateral cooperation in the rail transport sector will have a positive impact on measures to expand bilateral economic ties as a whole and to boost interregional cooperation.
At the current stage, it is necessary to speed up the reconstruction of the Rajin-Khasan railway section and Rajin Port as much as possible in compliance with earlier achieved agreements.
We have consistently supported the further strengthening and development of friendship and cooperation through joint efforts by the two countries, which meets the core interests of our countries’ people and contributes to peace and prosperity in the region.
Q.: Are the DPRK armed forces ready to launch one more strike on military facilities of South Korea and the United States? If they are, then under what conditions? Is the DPRK ready to discuss the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula at the six-party talks?
A.: We think that it is necessary to take the right approach toward today’s acute military-political situation on the Korean peninsula.
Recently the situation on the Korean peninsula has been in quite a dangerous stage, while inter-Korean relations are worse than ever.
All this poses a serious threat to peace and security both on the Korean peninsula, Northeast Asia and the world as a whole.
The main reason behind this escalation is the United States’ hostile policy in relation to the DPRK and the policy of confrontation with the North being pursued by the current ruling forces of South Korea.
The U.S., having included the DPRK in the list of targets of a nuclear preventive strike, is pursuing a policy aimed at isolating and strangling it, while the ruling conservatives of South Korea, who are oriented toward external forces, have rejected all of the earlier reached inter-Korean agreements and are waging a campaign of confrontation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
What is noteworthy is that recently the U.S., seeking to establish its military dominance in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, has decided to reinforce the military triangle with Japan and South Korea, has intentionally been fueling tensions on the Korean peninsula, and has fiercely been conducting unprecedented large-scale nuclear military exercises.
Following the U.S., South Korea has staged serious military provocations, holding large-scale military maneuvers one after the other.
As for the artillery shelling that occurred near Yeonpyeong Island on November 23, this was the result of ill-considered and simultaneously systematic measures to unleash war on the part of South Korea’s belligerent forces, who, unsettling us from a military standpoint, seek to provoke an armed confrontation and to use it as a pretext to spark the flames of war.
Like a thief, South Korea is shouting “Catch the Thief!”, falling all over itself to mislead the international community. Nevertheless, as it has already been announced in a press report of the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army and a press statement issued by a representative of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, during this incident we took resolute measures exclusively out of self defense and all of the required defense measures in response to the thoughtless military provocations staged by South Korean puppets, who were the first to open artillery fire in our territorial waters.
We think that until the U.S. and South Korea abandon their hostile and confrontational policy toward the DPRK, it will never be possible to allay tensions on the Korean peninsula.
We once again saw the rightness of our choice in favor of the Songun policy and the comprehensive strengthening of our self-defense potential based on nuclear deterrence forces.
Q.: In your opinion what are prospects for resuming six-party talks on the Korean peninsula problem? What preconditions are required for this?
A.: The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the goal set by our great leader Comrade Kim Il-Sung.
Securing lasting peace is our unchanged position.
Even amid the present-day atmosphere of extremely escalated tensions on the Korean peninsula, we would like to express our support for the resumption of the six-sided negotiating process based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and equality, as well as the “action-for-action” principle, envisioned in the joint statement dated September 19. We also came up with an initiative to conclude a peace treaty in order to establish a peace support system on the Korean peninsula.
Nevertheless, the U.S. is opposed to the resumption of this dialogue, having chosen to keep silent on our peace treaty proposal and to strengthen its policy to strangle and isolate the DPRK.
All of the countries involved that are concerned about the settlement of Korean peninsula problems should understand clearly who stands behind this escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula and should take a position of responsibility.