Korea: Venezuela condemns US war drive

The Venezuelan government released a statement accusing the United States of provoking the ongoing conflict between North and South Korea to further US interests in the region, Venezuelanalysis.com said November 26.

The statement came amid escalating tensions, as the US and South Korea carried out military exercises in disputed waters North Korea claims as its own.

The Korean peninsular has remained divided since the armistice that ended the fighting in the Korean War in 1953. The US has kept a strong military presence in the Republic of Korea in the south and tough sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north.

North Korea viewed the military exercises as a threat of war and responded on November 23 by shelling a South Korean island near the border, killing two soldiers and two civilians. South Korea fired back.

The US response was to ignore calls from China to restart talks aimed at resolving the conflict and to carry out further joint exercises, including a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, in disputed waters.

Reading the statement in a televised speech, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government “has for some time been warning of a political plan that consists of provoking incidents in the zone around the Korean peninsula ... as a strategy for the perpetuation of imperialist military hegemony in the region”.

Chavez urged “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and the countries in the area to strengthen their capacity to understand each other, with the aim of preserving peace in the region”.