North Korea demands the U.S., South Korea halt joint military drills
North Korea on Monday demanded that the United States and South Korea stop large-scale military exercises, calling them a provocation that may draw “more powerful follow-up measures” from Pyongyang.
“The situation in the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity has entered the serious confrontation phase of power for power again due to the ceaseless and reckless military moves of the U.S. and south Korea,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried on the country’s official KCNA news agency.
The United States and South Korea began one of their largest combined military air drills on Monday, with hundreds of warplanes from both sides staging mock attacks 24 hours a day for the better part of a week.
The operation, called Vigilant Storm, will run until Friday, and will feature about 240 warplanes conducting about 1,600 sorties, the U.S. Air Force said.
Washington and Seoul believe Pyongyang may be about to resume testing of nuclear bombs for the first time since 2017 and have embraced a strategy of “deterring” Pyongyang through major military drills that some current and former officials say may exacerbate tensions.
The foreign ministry statement said North Korea was “ready to take all necessary measures for defending its sovereignty, people’s security and territorial integrity from outside military threats.”
“If the U.S. continuously persists in the grave military provocations, the DPRK will take into account more powerful follow-up measures,” it said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name.
Also “If the U.S. does not want any serious developments not suited to its security interests, it should stop the useless and ineffective war exercises at once. If not, it will have to totally take the blame for all the consequences.”