DEPLOYING Royal Navy ships off the Korean Peninsula has been branded an ‘act of war’ by North Korea.
Pyongyang blasted the UK’s decision to send a third warship to the area to enforce international trade sanctions in the region, with North Korean officials saying it was an ‘extremely provocative act’.
Quoting a spokesman for the Korea-Europe Association, the Korea Central News Agency said that intercepting vessels believed to be breaking sanctions is ‘nothing short of an act of a naval blockade and an act of war that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula’, The Telegraph reported.
The paper said the spokesman added: ‘The UK would be well advised to deal with its domestic issues properly, instead of ingratiating itself with others and poking into affairs that are none of their business.’
Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland is being deployed to the region this month, with two more navy warships, HMS Argyll and HMS Albion, arriving later in the year.
Argyll will be taking part in an international training exercise while Albion will support the trade sanctions preventing the import of banned goods into North Korea, including components for the nation’s nuclear programme.
A North Korean spokesman said: ‘This cannot be construed otherwise than a foolish action completely ignorant of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, an action that encourages confrontation and tension.’