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NK’s top diplomat urges UN chief to halt US military maneuvers

 With the United States ratcheting up pressure against North Korea despite an Olympic detente between the two Koreas, Pyongyang’s top diplomat has asked the UN chief to stop the US from “provoking a nuclear war” on the Korean Peninsula.

In a letter sent to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Thursday, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho urged Guterres to exert efforts to halt the US’ deployment of military equipment and upcoming military maneuvers.

“I express my expectation that you pay a serious attention to the US deployment of nuclear war equipment and its maneuvers to provoke a nuclear war which will undermine the improvement of inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions,” Ri said.

Criticizing the US military pressure as a “primary factor” for worsening ties between the two Koreas, Ri asked the UN Security Council to take up “the issue of welcoming the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging the neighboring countries from disturbing the process.”
North Korea`s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho delivered a speech at the United Nation last September. Yonhap
North Korea`s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho delivered a speech at the United Nation last September. Yonhap

The move came amid reports that the US is envisioning what is called a “bloody nose” strategy -- a limited preventive strike on North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

According to Voice of America Korean Service, satellite images captured early Thursday by Planet Labs showed a massive crowd had gathered at Kim Il-sung Square in central Pyongyang, creating an image of the square filled with a red-colored crowd with yellow propaganda letters at the center.

The satellite images showed that the North Korean residents gathered in a manner similar to that of the North’s military parade last April, which had reportedly mobilized up to 150,000 residents and soldiers to mark the 105th birthday of the North’s founding father Kim Il-sung.

“Well, North Korea often has parades.” Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana White told reporters, Thursday, responding to a question about whether the military parade could pose a threat to the US. “We’re very capable of countering any threat to the United States, its allies or its partners,” she said.

The US State department has reiterated its pledge to maintain a “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea, highlighting that the Trump administration has never changed its policy goal of denuclearizing the reclusive regime.

“I want to be clear about this: Our policy has not changed in any way. Our policy is still the maximum pressure policy. We want a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula … we’ve talked about that since the very beginning of this administration, and successive administrations as well,” US State Department Sspokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday.