Whenever the U.S. conducts a naval drill with South Korea or Japan, North Korea issues dire threats.
The U.S., South Korea, and Japan are in the midst of another joint naval drill, and Pyongyang once again is being bellicose.
Is this more “huffing and puffing” from Pyongyang to be ignored, or is this an escalation of rhetoric to be taken seriously?
Photo: AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin
Pyongyang also refused to sign a non-aggression pact that John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, offered last week on condition of denuclearisation.
In a thinly veiled threat to strike the United States, the North’s National Defence Commission (NDC), chaired by leader Kim Jong-Un, said the US government must withdraw its policy of hostility against the North if it wants peace on both the Korean peninsula and the “US mainland”.
Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency carried a statement of an NDC spokesman: “(The United States) must bear it in mind that reckless provocative acts would meet our retaliatory strikes and lead to an all-out war of justice for a final showdown with the United States. We emphasise again that the United States must withdraw various measures aimed to isolate and strangulate us. Dependent upon this are… peace and security, not only on the Korean peninsula but the US mainland as well.”
The comments come after a two-day joint naval drill between Japan, South Korea and the US, which included an American nuclear aircraft carrier, which Pyongyang slammed as a “serious military provocation.”
Pyongyang vowed to “bury in the sea” the American carrier taking part in the exercise; demanded that the US lift sanctions against the North and stop the “constant nuclear blackmails” and various war drills; and rejected as “intolerable contempt” a US demand that it should show tangible commitment towards abandoning its nuclear programmes if it wants substantive talks with the United States.
“The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is an inalterable policy goal of the DPRK government,” it said, but added that getting rid of such weapons should also include a total removal of US nuclear threats against the North.
The North has said for years it wants denuclearisation of the whole Korean peninsula and that it is developing a nuclear arsenal to protect itself from the US military, which occasionally sends nuclear-powered warships and aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons.
In February Pyongyang carried out its third underground nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, sending tensions soaring and raising fears of possible conflict. It also launched a rocket in December that Washington said was a disguised ballistic missile test.