North Korea warns US and South Korea against expanding war games

  • The United States and South Korea are preparing for expanded joint military exercises, which will include field exercises.
  • North Korea has warned that the two countries could face “an undesirable consequence”.
  • South Korea’s president told reporters on Friday that the North could conduct a nuclear test at any time.

As the United States and South Korea prepare for expanded joint military exercises over the summer, North Korea warns that the two allies will face “unprecedented” security challenges and “undesirable consequences “if they don’t stop their “military confrontation”.

Choe Jin, deputy director of the North Korean Institute for Disarmament and Peace, a public organization run by the North Korean Foreign Ministry, told The Associated Press this week that the U.S.-South military exercises Koreans are “driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.”

“If the United States and its allies opted for a military confrontation with us, they would face unprecedented security instability,” Jin said, adding that “the United States must keep in mind that they will be treated equally when they threaten us with nuclear weapons.”

Jin also said the United States should end its “suicidal policy of hostility” with North Korea if it does not wish to face “an undesirable consequence”.

Joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, longtime allies, are a regular occurrence. The drills have been smaller in recent years, but this year the two countries will resume joint field exercises for the first time since 2018, South Korea’s defense ministry said. North Korea’s reaction so far has been consistent with responses to past exercises, which it sees as a precursor to an invasion.

Summer military exercises have been scaled back due to COVID-19, attempts to reduce tensions with the North and, under the Trump administration, presidential complaints about the cost of exercises.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol, whose first term began in May, said such joint drills should be normalized as a deterrent against North Korea again engaging in provocative behavior.

US missile test in South Korea

A missile is fired during a joint US-South Korean exercise on the east coast of South Korea, June 6, 2022.

South Korean Defense Ministry/Dong-A Daily via Getty Images

“The United States and South Korea clearly demonstrate how close their alliance is,” Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, told Insider. “One has to wonder if Kim Jong-Un doesn’t realize it’s his fault. If he hadn’t done several missile tests this year, we wouldn’t have come out to show the strength of our alliance. .”

North Korea conducted 31 missile tests in 2022, including one it said was its first successful ICBM launch since 2017. On June 6, just 24 hours after North Korea launched eight short-range missiles range, the United States and South Korea conducted a joint operation – a missile test which, according to the latter’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, “demonstrated the capability and posture necessary to launch strikes of immediate clarification on the origins of the provocations, even if North Korea launches missiles from various places”.

North Korea Missile Launch TV News

People watch a TV program about a North Korean missile launch at Seoul Station on June 5, 2022.

Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images

But South Korea has said more provocative tests from the North could soon take place, including its first nuclear test since September 2017. President Yoon said North Korea was ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time. .

“We believe that not only at the end of this month, but since my inauguration, he’s fully ready and able to do it whenever he chooses,” Yoon told reporters on Friday. In May, CNN reported that the United States estimated that North Korea could be ready to conduct another nuclear test by the end of the month.

Bennett said it wouldn’t be surprising if North Korea turned to a nuclear test as the “next major provocation.”

“Having the United States participate in this training is going to cause Kim all kinds of concerns,” Bennett told Insider. “He doesn’t want to strengthen our alliance, but he’s done a really good job this year.”

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