Top Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov told a United Nations news conference that the United States, South Korea, and Japan are preparing for war with North Korea. The Foreign Minister made the comments Wednesday saying that this new military bloc brought together by the U.S. is building up military activity and conducting large-scale exercises.

Last week, the three countries conducted combined naval exercises involving an American aircraft carrier in their latest show of strength against nuclear-armed North Korea, while NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) also runs large military war games.

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The United States, South Korea, and Japan have described their combined military drills as defensive in nature and necessary to cope with growing North Korean nuclear threats, according to a report by The Associated Press.  All of a sudden South Korea’s rhetoric “became even more hostile towards Pyongyang,” Lavrov said. “In Japan as well, we hear aggressive rhetoric” and it is seriously talking about setting up NATO infrastructure with U.S. assistance.

According to Lavrov’s assessment, the objective of the military bloc is clearly stated: “They’re preparing for war with the DPRK,” (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

When asked about Lavrov’s comments, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lim Soosuk said they reflected North Korea’s “constantly false and misleading claims as it tries to shift the blame to the outside world while developing nuclear weapons and missiles under its own schedule.” –The Associated Press

“Our government has consistently expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue with North Korea without any preconditions,” Lim said during a briefing.

Both Russia and North Korea have denied accusations by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang has been shipping artillery shells, missiles, and other military equipment to Moscow in recent months. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed his willingness to visit the North Korean capital, at a convenient time during his meeting with Kim in Russia’s Far East in September.

Lavrov said the timing will be decided by the Kremlin.

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