U.S. Drills Threatens North Korea
North Korea said on Thursday that drills by the United States and its allies have reached an “extreme red-line” and threaten to turn the peninsula into a “huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone.”
The Foreign Ministry statement, carried by state news agency KCNA, said Pyongyang was 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 an extreme red-line due to the reckless military confrontational manoeuvres and hostile acts of the U.S. and its vassal forces,” ministry spokesperson said in th statement.
It cited a visit to Seoul this week by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. On Tuesday, Austin and his South Korean counterpart vowed to expand military drills and deploy more “strategic assets,” such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea’s weapons development and prevent a war.
“This is a vivid expression of the U.S. dangerous scenario which will result in turning the Korean peninsula into a huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone,” the North Korean statement said.
The United States has pushed to expand military, political, and economic ties across Asia.
In Manila on Thursday, Austin and his counterpart there announced that the Philippines had granted the United States expanded access to its military bases amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea and tensions over self-ruled Taiwan.
When asked about the tensions with North Korea during his stop in the Philippines, Austin said that “the U.S. goal was to promote greater security and stability and that it remained committed to defending South Korea.”
“We will continue to work alongside our allies and train and ensure that we maintain credible and ready forces,” he said.
North Korea said it would respond to any military moves by the United States, and had strong counteraction strategies, including “the most overwhelming nuclear force” if necessary.
Reuters /Shakirat Sadiq