China Says Would Be ‘Serious Mistake’ if Argentina Cuts Ties 

Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei waves to supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (AFP)
Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei waves to supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (AFP)
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China Says Would Be ‘Serious Mistake’ if Argentina Cuts Ties 

Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei waves to supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (AFP)
Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei waves to supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (AFP)

China said on Tuesday it would be a "serious mistake" if Argentina were to cut ties, after the weekend presidential election victory in the South American country of a right-wing libertarian who has said he will not deal with communists.

Argentinian president-elect Javier Milei has criticized China as well as Brazil, which are among his country's most important trading partners. A few months ago, Milei likened the Chinese government to an "assassin" and said the people of China were "not free".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular news briefing that the development of bilateral relations with Argentina had been showing good momentum, and it would be a "serious mistake" for Argentina to cut ties with countries such as China and Brazil.

Diana Mondino, an economist tipped to become foreign minister in the Milei administration, said Argentina would not join the BRICS grouping, that includes China and Russia, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency cited her as saying.

Argentina was among six countries invited to become new members of the BRICS, a bloc whose members also include Brazil, India and South Africa.

Mondino told RIA Novosti that Argentina would "stop interacting" with the governments of China and Brazil, when asked whether Argentina would encourage exports and imports with those countries.

Mao, asked by reporters about Mondino's remarks, said: "The two sides have strong economic complementarity and huge potential for cooperation."

"China is willing to continue to work together with Argentina to promote the stability and long-term development of bilateral relations."

Milei's tough talk on China stands in sharp contrast with a vow of cooperation by the outgoing president, Alberto Fernandez, who visited Beijing last month and hailed China as a "true friend" of Argentina.

Fernandez also pledged coordination with China under frameworks like the G20 and BRICS.

Milei has also said climate change is a "lie of socialism" and Pope Francis is on the side of "bloody dictatorships".



North Korean Official Criticizes US for Expanding Support for Ukraine 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
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North Korean Official Criticizes US for Expanding Support for Ukraine 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

A top North Korean military official on Monday criticized the United States over its expanding military assistance to Ukraine, reaffirming the reclusive state's support for Moscow in the Ukraine war, according to state media KCNA.

Washington and Seoul have been increasingly alarmed by deepening military cooperation between Russia and the North, and have accused them of violating international laws by trading in arms for Russia to use against Ukraine. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any arms transfer.

A pact signed by Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during Putin's visit to Pyongyang last week commits each side to provide immediate military assistance to the other in the event of armed aggression against either one of them.

Putin on Monday thanked Kim for his hospitality during the trip which brought ties to an unprecedented level, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Analysts say the pact would lay the framework for arms trade between the two countries and facilitate their anti-US and anti-West coalition.

Pak Jong Chon, one of North Korea's top military officials, said Russia has the "right to opt for any kind of retaliatory strike" in a statement carried by KCNA on Monday, adding if Washington kept pushing Ukraine to a "proxy war" against Russia, it could provoke a stronger response from Moscow, and a "new world war".

He referred to comments by the Pentagon last week that Ukrainian forces can use US-supplied weapons to strike Russian forces anywhere across the border into Russia.

Senior officials of South Korea, the US and Japan condemned "in the strongest possible terms" deepening military cooperation between North Korea and Russia in a joint statement released by Seoul's foreign ministry on Monday.

Russia may have received about 1.6 million artillery shells from North Korea from August to January, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, analyzing data from a US security nonprofit C4ADS that shows 74,000 metric tons of explosives moved from Russia's far east ports to other sites mainly along the borders near Ukraine.

Putin's mutual defense agreement with North Korea has the potential to create friction with China, which has long been the isolated state's main ally, the top US military officer said on Sunday.

North Korea plans to send construction and engineering forces to Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine as early as next month for rebuilding work, a South Korean cable TV network TV Chosun reported earlier, citing a South Korean government official.

Those forces, working overseas under the disguise of construction workers to earn hard currency for the regime, would be moved from China to those Russia-held regions, the network said. South Korea's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment on the TV Chosun reports.