SEOUL, Feb 2 (Reuters) – North Korea’s International Ministry mentioned on Thursday that drills by the US and its allies have pushed the scenario to an “excessive red-line” and threaten to show the peninsula right into a “big battle arsenal and a extra essential battle zone.”
The assertion, carried by state information company KCNA, mentioned Pyongyang was not all for dialogue so long as Washington pursues hostile insurance policies.
“The navy and political scenario on the Korean peninsula and within the area has reached an excessive red-line because of the reckless navy confrontational maneuvers and hostile acts of the U.S. and its vassal forces,” an unnamed ministry spokesperson mentioned within the assertion.
In Washington, the White Home rejected the North Korean assertion and reiterated a willingness to satisfy with North Korean diplomats “at a time and place handy for them.”
“We’ve made clear we’ve no hostile intent towards the DPRK and search severe and sustained diplomacy to deal with the complete vary of problems with concern to each international locations and the area,” mentioned a spokesperson for the White Home Nationwide Safety Council.
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The North Korean assertion cited a go to to Seoul this week by U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin. On Tuesday Austin and his South Korean counterpart vowed to develop navy drills and deploy extra “strategic belongings,” resembling plane carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea’s weapons improvement and forestall a battle.
“It is a vivid expression of the U.S. harmful situation which is able to lead to turning the Korean peninsula into an enormous battle arsenal and a extra essential battle zone,” the North Korean assertion mentioned.
North Korea will reply to any navy strikes by the US, and has sturdy counteraction methods, together with “probably the most overwhelming nuclear drive” if needed, the assertion added.
Greater than 28,500 American troops are primarily based in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean Battle, which led to an armistice relatively than a peace treaty.
“We reject the notion that our joint workout routines with companions within the area function any type of provocation. These are routine workout routines absolutely per previous observe,” the White Home assertion mentioned.
Final 12 months, North Korea performed a file variety of ballistic missile checks, that are banned by United Nations Safety Council resolutions. It was additionally noticed reopening its shuttered nuclear weapons take a look at web site, elevating expectations of a nuclear take a look at for the primary time since 2017.
In New York, South Korea’s international minister, Park Jin, met with the United Nations Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and known as for the U.N.’s continued consideration to North Korea’s current provocations and efforts to implement sanctions on the reclusive regime.
Guterres mentioned any resumption of nuclear testing by North Korea would deal a devastating blow to regional and worldwide safety, and reaffirmed assist to construct lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, in response to Park’s workplace.
Park is on a four-day journey to the US, which is able to embrace a gathering with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday.
On Wednesday the US and South Korea carried out a joint air drill with American B-1B heavy bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, in addition to F-35 jets from each international locations, in response to South Korea’s Protection Ministry.
“The mixed air drills this time present the U.S.’ will and capabilities to offer sturdy and credible prolonged deterrence towards North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” the Protection Ministry mentioned in a press release.
Reporting by Josh Smith; Extra reporting by Soo-hyang Choi and Steve Holland; Enhancing by Jonathan Oatis, Invoice Berkrot and Gerry Doyle
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