Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Alexandr Matsegora gave an interview to Ria-Novosti of Russia on May 24.
He referred to Russia's stand on the emergency anti-epidemic measures and steps for bolstering up defence capabilities taken by the Workers' Party of Korea and the DPRK government, the present Korean peninsula situation, the north-south relations and other issues.
On the present COVID-19-related situation in the DPRK and follow-up measures, he said:
No COVID-19 case is registered in the DPRK at present. The outbreak of Omicron sub-variant from May to August last year was successfully overcome thanks to the great efforts made by the state, which is not an exaggeration. Military medics played a significant role. The victory of the economic field was achieved at a high price and the population did not suffer much damage.
Noting that the DPRK took a step for complete isolation from the outside world at the end of January 2020 to prevent the inroads of highly dangerous sub-variants in the early period of the pandemic outbreak and has enforced the strictest emergency anti-epidemic measures, he pointed out:
At present, many restrictions have been lifted. Schools and universities resumed their lessons, mass cultural and sports events are taking place and parks, museums and libraries were opened. Anyhow, regulations on disinfection and body temperature measurement and a mask-wearing system are still maintained in all public places.
Referring to the fact that the DPRK has not yet lifted some restrictions, though many countries resumed contacts at a considerable level after the COVID-19 pandemic, the ambassador said:
The DPRK does not regard the complicated global epidemic situation only as a result of COVID-19. It defines the "global health crisis" as a broader concept. In this context of crisis, the country is keeping an eye on the outbreak of such new infectious diseases as monkeypox in other countries. In addition, experts in the DPRK differ from their foreign counterparts in the belief that future corona sub-variants will be less dangerous than the previous sub-variants. On the contrary, they do not exclude the possibility of sudden outbreak of any fatal corona sub-variant. That's why the DPRK is not hurrying to open the border, but gives priority to protecting its population from new diseases of high risk.
Saying that unlike many countries, the DPRK is not hesitant in attributing all the global difficulties to the US which seeks to maintain unipolar world order and completely contain Russia and other countries going against it, the ambassador continued:
The DPRK does not tolerate any arbitrary practice of the US, pursuing a very independent foreign policy. The friends in the DPRK are demonstrating solidarity with Russia in the international fields and treasuring it. We are very grateful for this.
On the other hand, we understand and support Pyongyang's stand on the situation of the Korean peninsula. The Korean peninsula situation has recently been aggravated due to Washington's hostile policy. The US is deploying strategic attack weapons in the southern half of the peninsula while continuing to conduct military drills together with south Korea. The purpose of such military moves is clear. It is to overthrow the leadership of the DPRK, occupy its territory and abolish its political system. That was why the DPRK had to take measures for self-defence, strengthen its defence potentials and make full preparations to cope with dangerous enemy's aggression.
On the fact that the DPRK has stepped up its missile launches, including the test-fire of new-type ICBM in mid-April, the ambassador said:
Pyongyang has developed new ballistic missiles and conducted their tests one after another, because the US is pursuing a hostile policy towards the DPRK.
Had there been no ever-increasing military, political and economic pressure, challenge and interference in its internal affairs, and had there been no direct threat to overthrow the socio-economic system of the country, there would have been no reason for the leadership of the DPRK to map out and implement large-scale missile and nuclear programmes.
The Koreans are not thinking of attacking the US, Japan and south Korea to occupy them and change their political systems. They only want them to be in peace. However, they do not tolerate anything that offends them. That is why it is Washington's hostile line invariably pursued for decades that arouses major anxiety and concern. Washington is trying to carry out its geopolitical tasks by escalating tension in different parts of the world.
It should be acknowledged that the munitions industry of the DPRK has achieved remarkable successes in the recent decade. In fact, all series of ballistic and cruise missiles were developed and dozens of test-fires conducted. However, the test-fires did not pose any threat to the Far East region of Russia. The DPRK side repeatedly made clear that it is strictly abiding by such principle. There is no reason that we cannot trust them.
Noting that the DPRK has made strides in the development of missile programme and strengthening of military force, the ambassador said:
Leader Kim Jong Un mentioned some aspects of the nuclear weapons programme in the course of various events. Such aspects were also made public through media reports on his visit to munitions industrial establishments. It was reported that nuclear and thermal nuclear warheads to be loaded on medium-range and inter-continental ballistic missiles had already been developed and tested and commissioned for the armed forces. Photos of these weapons were carried in newspapers, too. Their quantity is unknown and there exists only speculation.
At the Eighth WPK Congress in January 2021, Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the WPK, set forth the task for concentrating efforts on the production of tactical nuclear warheads and increasing their quantity in an exponential way. In the last two years, the DPRK has developed and tested a variety of short-range missile carriers capable of carrying tactical payloads. Among them are 600mm super-large multiple rocket launchers, ballistic and cruise missiles to be launched under water and underwater drones. It is difficult to judge the existing productive capacity of the north Korean people, but it is very serious when considering that the leader of the DPRK does not make empty talk.
The result of the south Korean "president's" visit to the US brought a storm of anger to the DPRK, and the DPRK regards it as an agreement on the plans for attack on the DPRK, including the plan for using nuclear weapons, he said.
As a neighbour of the DPRK, Russia sincerely hopes that the north and the south of Korea would settle all the existing difficulties independently on the principle of national unity without any outside interference, the ambassador added.