North Korean state media slams France for ‘gunboat diplomacy’

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean state media on Friday criticised France over the deployment of a patrol aircraft in waters near the peninsula, labelling it “outdated gunboat diplomacy”.

The criticism comes after Japan’s foreign ministry announced earlier this week that France will conduct surveillance of illicit maritime activities including ship-to-ship transfers by North Korean-flagged vessels using aircraft from Futenma Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

The move is “outdated gunboat diplomacy,” said Ryu Kyong-chol, a researcher at North’s Korea-Europe Association in a statement carried by state media. Ryu also urged France to stop “dangerous actions” that threaten peace in the region.

Japan’s foreign ministry on Monday said it marks the fourth time such activities have taken place since 2019.

Earlier this year, North Korean state media also slammed France over a joint air exercise conducted with South Korea, branding it as a “military provocation”.

“France, hit by serious conflicts caused by social division, is better off focusing on problems at home,” KCNA said in August carrying Ryu’s statement.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Michael Perry)