North Korea on Friday threatened an “unprecedentedly persistent, strong” response as South Korea and the United States prepare for annual joint military exercises.
The statement came shortly after South Korea announced joint tabletop exercises next week.
“In case the US and South Korea carry into practice their already announced plan for military drills that [North Korea], with just apprehension and reason, regards as preparations for an aggression war, they will face unprecedentedly persistent and strong counteractions,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
Pyongyang called South Korea and the US “the arch-criminals deliberately disrupting” regional peace and stability.
“This predicts that the situation in the Korean Peninsula and the region will be again plunged into the grave vortex of escalating tension,” the statement said.
Planned simulated drill on North Korea’s use of nukes
The South Korea-US joint drills, called the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise, are set to begin on February 22 at the Pentagon in Washington.
The drills are part of efforts to thwart North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile threats.
The exercises would involve defense policymakers from both sides, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.
Military drills with the United States had been scaled back during the coronavirus pandemic. But they are now being bolstered under South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, as he looks to reassure an increasingly nervous South Korean public of Washington’s commitment to deter Pyongyang.
North Korea condemns UN Security Council
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry also cautioned that if the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) continues to be “inveigled” by Washington, it will reconsider additional actions beyond normal military activities, without elaborating further.
The ministry has accused the US of fueling tensions and using UNSC as “a tool for illegal hostile policy” to pressure North Korea.
In 2022, North Korea conducted a record number of military tests, firing about 70 ballistic missiles.
The tests included nuclear-capable weapons with the ability to strike targets in South Korea or reach the US mainland.
dvv/fb (AFP, Reuters)