By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – North Korea has slammed the US after Washington announced it will supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Pyongyang also denied it supplied any arms to Russia.
“It is an absurd and sheer sophism as it is an extension of the illogical, deformed and gangster-like way of thinking of the US, which frequently introduces nuclear strike means into the Korean peninsula under the pretext of providing ‘extended deterrence’ against ‘provocation’ of someone,” said Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of US Affairs of the country’s Foreign Ministry.
“Had the US not infringed upon the just security interests of Russia and accelerated the eastward advance of NATO step by step, the present situation of Ukraine would not have been created,” he said in a statement released on North Korean state media on Sunday.
Last week, a US official said the tanks will be delivered in months, rather than weeks, but did not have a firm timeline. Asked why the Biden administration fixed the number of tanks at 31, the official said the figure was decided because it is equivalent to one Ukrainian tank battalion.
US President Joe Biden said that the delivery of dozens of US-made M1 Abrams tanks will significantly bolster Ukraine's ability to defend itself against Russia's ongoing offensive but maintained they pose no "offensive threat" to the Kremlin.
“This is an unethical crime aimed at keeping the international situation unstable,” the North Korean official said.
He also denied North Korea was supplying any arms to Moscow.
“The US again talked about the groundless rumor of ‘arms dealing between the DPRK and Russia', in a foolish attempt to justify its offer of weapons to Ukraine,” said Kwon, referring to the official name Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“It is an illegal act to call into question the legitimate right to the national defense of a sovereign state. Moreover, trying to tarnish the image of the DPRK by fabricating a non-existent thing is a grave provocation that can never be allowed and that cannot but trigger its reaction,” he said, adding Pyongyang “clearly warns the US once again on this occasion.”