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North Korean foreign minister defends Russia arms sales against ‘groundless criticism’

North Korea’s top diplomatic official defended the hermit nation from international criticism for covertly selling weapons to Russia following weeks of bilateral meetings.

A statement released Thursday by the governments of the U.S., Japan and South Korea asserted that “such weapons deliveries, several of which we now confirm have been completed, will significantly increase the human toll of Russia’s war of aggression.”

Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui addressed the issue Saturday in the state media outlet Korean Central News Agency, where she said, “If [the US, Japan, and South Korea] have no malice toward the DPRK and Russia, there will be no reason to strain every nerve and feel uneasy about the development of equal and normal relations between the two countries.”

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nORTH kOREA RUSSIA MINISTERS FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov waves as he walks with North Korea’s Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui (L) before his departure from an airport in Pyongyang.  (KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)

DPRK stands for “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the official name of North Korea.

The international community has sharply warned North Korea against providing weapons to the Russian military in their invasion of Ukraine.

Choe claimed that North Korea’s enemies “have vital geopolitical interests in illegalizing the DPRK-Russia relations, in view of the present international political situation and the crises the U.S., Japan and [South Korea] are facing at home and abroad.”

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Putin and Kim at space facility

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un inspect the Russian spaceport Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“The bilateral relations are developing on the basis of such recognized principles of international law as national sovereignty, mutual respect, non-interference, equality and mutual benefit under the DPRK-Russia treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation, a legitimate constitution of international law,” Choe said Saturday. “This is an intrinsic attribute of the DPRK-Russia relations.”

Russia is not the only internationally sanctioned state to which North Korea has been accused of supplying weapons of war.

Israel and its allies have accused North Korea of manufacturing military technology used by Hamas militants in their violent conflict against Israel this month — a charge that North Korean officials have denied.

North Korea Russia

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends wreath laying ceremony at Liberation Monument in Pyongyang. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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One weapon at the center of the controversy, used by Hamas, is the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, a shoulder-fired weapon that fighters typically use against armored vehicles. 

A video of Hamas terrorists using the F-7 rocket launcher has been confirmed through analysis by two experts on North Korean arms and South Korean military intelligence. The Associated Press also conducted an analysis of weapons captured on the battlefield.

These rocket launchers fire a single warhead and can be quickly reloaded, making them valuable weapons for smaller militias and guerrilla forces running skirmishes against heavy vehicles.

Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at timothy.nerozzi@fox.com

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