Seoul (South Korea) (AFP) – The North Korean leader’s influential sister warned Tuesday that her country was ready to take “swift and overwhelming action” against the United States and South Korea, the day after the US launched a B. Bomber 52 in a demonstration of militancy against the North.
Monday’s US-South Korean exercise involving B-52 bombers over the Korean peninsula was the latest in a series of exercises between the allies over the past few months. Their armies are also preparing for their largest field maneuvers later this month.
Kim Yo Jong did not specify the planned actions in his statement, but North Korea has frequently tested missiles in response to the US-South Korean military exercises because it views them as a rehearsal for invasion.
In the statement, Kim Yo Jong said, “We are monitoring the uncontrolled military movements of the US forces and the puppet army in South Korea and are always ready to take appropriate, swift and massive measures at any time, at our discretion.”
“Obvious military moves and all kinds of talk from the United States and South Korea, which it becomes crazy to ignore, (North Korea) undoubtedly provide the conditions to force them to do something about it. Deal with it,” she said. .
After Monday’s drills, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the B-52 deployment demonstrated the allies’ capabilities crucial to deterring North Korean aggression. The United States deployed a US B-1B long-range bomber or B-1B multiple bombers to the peninsula several times earlier this year. Last month, the United States and South Korea also conducted simulations in Washington aimed at improving their response to North Korean nuclear threats.
Last Friday, the South Korean and US militaries announced that they would conduct a computer-simulated exercise at the Command Center from March 13 to 23, recreating the largest spring field exercises last conducted in 2018.
The allies have canceled or scaled back some of their regular exercises since 2018 to support now-dormant diplomacy with North Korea and guard against the COVID-19 pandemic. But they got their training back after North Korea conducted a record number of missile tests last year and publicly threatened to use its nuclear weapons in potential conflicts with its adversaries.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, North Korea’s foreign ministry called the overflight of the US B-52 bomber a reckless provocation that pushes the situation on the peninsula “deeper into an endless quagmire.” The statement, attributed to the unnamed head of the ministry’s foreign news bureau, said: “There is no guarantee that there will be no violent physical conflict” if the military provocations between the United States and South Korea continue.
North Korea often unleashes heated rhetoric at times of increasing hostility with the United States and South Korea. Observers say that possible measures that North Korea could take include conducting a nuclear test or launching a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile targeting the continental United States.
Last month, Kim Yo Jong threatened to turn the Pacific Ocean into a shooting range in the North. In his statement Tuesday, he said that North Korea will study a possible US attempt to intercept an ICBM, declaring war on North Korea. He cited a South Korean media report in which he said that the US military intends to shoot down a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile if it is launched in the direction of the Pacific Ocean.
All known North Korean ICBM tests have been conducted at steep angles to avoid neighboring countries, and the weapons have landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
South Korea on Monday took a step to ease a thorny historical dispute with Japan in what was seen as an attempt to boost trilateral security cooperation between Seoul, Tokyo and Washington. The move includes a plan that uses local funds to compensate Koreans who performed forced labor during Tokyo’s colonial rule, but does not require Japanese companies to contribute to compensation.
US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Monday praised the leaders of South Korea and Japan, saying they have realized that “the potential for future cooperation is greater and has more value and that we have to deal with historical problems.”
Associated Press writer Mary Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.
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