North Korea has denounced the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Seoul as a “provocative” act that would escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula. In a commentary published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday, the North accused Blinken of seeking “the extreme confrontation” with Pyongyang and preparing for “the second Korean war”.
Blinken arrived in Seoul late Wednesday for a two-day trip, during which he is expected to meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and President Yoon Suk Yeol. The visit is part of Blinken’s first Asia tour as the top US diplomat, following his stop in Tokyo where he met with Japanese officials and reaffirmed the US-Japan alliance.
The North Korean commentary claimed that Blinken’s trip was aimed at “igniting a war” against the North, which has been under heavy sanctions for its nuclear and missile programs. It also criticized the US for sending a nuclear-weapons-capable B-52 bomber and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the region last month, calling them “war tools”.
The commentary warned that the US would face a “grave consequence” if it continued to provoke the North, and urged South Korea to distance itself from the US and pursue an independent policy. It said that the South should not be “a puppet” of the US, but a “partner” of the North in achieving peace and reunification on the peninsula.