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North Korea condemns France's ‘gunboat diplomacy’

The French navy frigate Prairial takes part in the Rim of the Pacific exercise near Hawaii, July 26, 2018. (Photo via US Navy)

North Korea has strongly criticized France for its plans to deploy its military forces to the waters of the Korean Peninsula, terming the decision as outdated "gunboat diplomacy".

The strong criticism was raised by Ryu Kyong-chol, a researcher at the North Korea-Europe Association, in a statement titled "France must stop activities threatening the peace and security of the Northeast Asian region" and published this Friday by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“France's attempts to escalate tensions by deploying its military forces to the waters of the Korean Peninsula every year since 2019 under the fancy name of enforcing UNSC sanctions against North Korea pose a great risk,” Ryu noted, urging France to stop "dangerous actions" that threaten peace in the region.

France began escalating tensions in the region in October 2021 after a French patrol boat tasked with monitoring North Korea entered the East China Sea, he said.

“As the military and political situation on the Korean Peninsula draws ever closer in addition to the outbreak of a nuclear war due to the hostile military activities of the United States and its supporters, and the participation of France added complexity and danger to the situation.”

The remarks came in response to Japan's announcement that France will engage in monitoring and surveillance of illicit maritime activities this month.

North Korea's use of the term "gunboat diplomacy" is a reference to France's participation in the Korean War, both diplomatically and militarily.

Elysee claims its forces began participation in aerial prevention and surveillance missions of illicit activities at sea, such as maritime transshipments involving North Korean-flagged vessels, prohibited by the United Nations Security Council.

In addition to France, the US-led countries that regularly conduct surveillance activities in the Korean Peninsula include South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US military has gone as far as directly telling its allies to confront its regional adversaries.

In the meantime, the US-led foreign military presence in the region has prompted neighboring heavyweight, China, to strengthen Chinese forces and bases while conducting exercises to maintain its military's readiness.

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