SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that the exercises by the United States and its allies had pushed the situation to an “extreme red line” and threatened to turn the peninsula into a “huge war arsenal and an even bigger war zone”. .
The statement, carried by the official KCNA news agency, said Pyongyang is not interested in dialogue as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.
“The military and political situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region has reached a severe red line due to the reckless military confrontation maneuvers and hostile actions by the United States and its forces,” a ministry spokesperson said in a press release.
In Washington, the White House dismissed North Korea’s statement and reiterated its desire to meet with North Korean diplomats “at a time and place convenient to them.”
“We have made it clear that we have no hostile intentions towards the DPRK and we pursue serious and sustained diplomacy to resolve all issues of concern to both countries and the region,” a council spokesman said. White House National Security.
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The North Korean statement cites a visit to Seoul this week by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Austin and his South Korean counterpart pledged on Tuesday to expand military exercises and deploy more “strategic assets,” such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter South Korea’s North Korean weapons development and prevent war.
“This is a vivid expression of the dangerous US scenario, which will result in the transformation of the Korean peninsula into a huge war arsenal and a larger war zone,” the North Korean statement said.
The statement added that North Korea will respond to any military action by the United States and has strong retaliatory strategies, including the “most populous nuclear power” if necessary.
More than 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
“We reject the notion that our joint maneuvers with our partners in the region amount to any form of provocation, and these are routine exercises that are fully consistent with past practices,” the White House statement said.
Last year, North Korea conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests, which are prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions. The reopening of its closed nuclear weapons testing site was also mentioned, raising expectations of a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.
In New York, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and called on the UN to continue paying attention to North Korea’s recent provocations and efforts to impose sanctions on the reclusive regime.
Guterres said any resumption of North Korea’s nuclear tests would be a devastating blow to regional and international security, and reaffirmed his support for building lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to Park’s office.
Park is on a four-day trip to the United States, which includes meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday.
Mercredi, les États-Unis and the Corée du Sud ont mené des exercices aériens conjoints avec des bombardiers lourds americans B-1B and the chasseurs fourtifs F-22, as well as the F-35 des deux pays, selon le ministère sud-coreen de Defense.
“This joint air exercise demonstrates the United States’ readiness and capabilities to provide a strong, reliable deterrence at scale against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
Reporting by Josh Smith. Additional reporting by Soo Hyang Choi and Steve Holland. Editing by Jonathan Otis, Bill Berkrot, and Jerry Doyle
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