North Korea's foreign minister blames U.S. for tensions

By Elizabeth Shim  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:19 PM
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SEOUL, March 28 (UPI) -- North Korea's foreign minister said joint military exercises were bringing the Korean peninsula to the brink of war.

In an interview with TASS News Agency of Russia, Ri Su Yong criticized Washington and Seoul for raising tensions.

North Korea is ready to launch a preemptive nuclear attack on the United States, Ri said, adding war on the peninsula would be brought about by the United States.

"America is mobilizing all means of military aggression in training, and is making prearrangements for a preemptive strike" against North Korea, Ri said.

Ri also said the U.S. policy of a "rebalancing to Asia," is "part of its hegemonic strategy," and that its "number one priority [is] to attack North Korea."

The North Korean foreign minister criticized the United States for an unprecedented large-scale military exercise in the South, involving tens of thousands of soldiers, and strategic nuclear weapons.

"North Korea cannot just sit and watch in the face of U.S. threats," Ri said, adding that the United States is to be blamed for "nuclear threats" and for pushing Pyongyang to develop its own weapons.

The U.S. State Department has responded to the foreign minister's statements, and urged North Korea to stop raising tensions, and instead focus on implementing its commitments and obligations to the international community, South Korean news service Newsis reported.

Over the weekend North Korea had released footage of a simulated nuclear strike of Washington, D.C., which included an image of a submarine-launched ballistic missile striking the Capitol building.

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