Russia and China have strongly rejected increasing military activities by the US on the Korean peninsula, warning that the escalating tensions could destabilize the entire region. According to a statement released by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, “It worries us…. There are unilateral actions taken against North Korea that are demonstrated by increasing military activity. We may simply let the situation slip out of control and this will spiral into a vicious cycle.” Earlier in the day, China also called for easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said “We call on all relevant parties to make joint efforts to turn around the tense situation. Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as Northeast Asia serves the common interest.”This comes after North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered rocket units to be on standby at an overnight emergency meeting with the country’s top army commanders. The North Korean leader said that the forces should “mercilessly strike the US mainland..., military bases in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea.” Kim’s order came after the United States on Thursday flew two nuclear-capable B2 stealth bombers over South Korea to conduct “deterrence” mission. The two bombers flew out of Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri, dropped dummy ordnance on targets in South Korea, and completed the 13000-mile round trip in a "single continuous mission," according to a press release by the US military. Kim argued that the stealth bomber flights went beyond a simple demonstration of force and amounted to a US "ultimatum that they will ignite a nuclear war at any cost." North Korea had already put its strategic units at combat-ready status on Tuesday for possible strikes against the US. On Monday, the US and South Korea signed a military pact, allowing the allies to respond even to any purported low-level provocations from North Korea. On March 21, South Korean and US forces wrapped up an annual war game codenamed ‘Key Resolve’ amid high military tension with North Korea, announcing that they would continue to maintain high alert in the wake of fresh threats of attack from Pyongyang. North Korea, however, condemned the maneuvers as a launch pad for a “nuclear war.” The United Nations also approved a fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang following its nuclear test in February, a move that added to Pyongyang’s escalating rhetoric against Washington and Seoul. MAM/JR/SS