North Korea Warns US Against Participating in Military Exercises With South Korea

North Korea Warns US Against Participating in Military Exercises With South Korea”

Joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea are only "adding fuel to the fire" on the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang said on Sunday.

Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the USA mainland can "dodge the merciless strike".

"UFG is computer simulated defensive exercise created to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula", the statement read.

In the early 1990s Seoul and Washington agreed to cancel a drill then known as Team Spirit in return for the North allowing an inspection of its secret nuclear facilities - only to see Pyongyang later walk away and resume its weapons development.

To an extent, the Chinese efforts paid off following North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un's decision to withhold authorization to strike four missile near Guam which is a US territory.

The planned rocket salvo was delayed by the North Korean leader last week but he warned it could go ahead depending on Washington's next move.

Both South Korea and the USA intend to move forward with the scheduled exercises that are set to begin Monday.

"North Korea must understand its repeated provocations are what is forcing South Korea and the U.S. to conduct the joint defensive drills, which in turn, keeps the vicious cycle going", Moon told a Cabinet meeting.

Commenting on the upcoming drills, the North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported that the drills would contribute to escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted", the editorial added.

Pushing through with the drills is essential for South Korean President Moon Jae-In's promise to "prevent war at all cost", said Choi Kang of the Asan Institute of Policy Studies. That number is down from 25,000 previous year, Reuters reports.

Tillerson said peaceful diplomatic pressure was the preferred way to get Pyongyang to stop its testing of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

But, after reviewing those plans, Kim ultimately decided he would "watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees", seeming to walk back an imminent threat to the island and de-escalating tensions on the Peninsula - at least for now. In response to that exercise, North Korea threatened a "merciless attack".

"In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities", he said.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

North Korea on August 8 announced plans for a ballistic missile test that would strike near the US territory of Guam, and Trump warned that the USA would respond to a North Korean attack with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, called for the suspension of the annual exercises in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear programme.

"Since all of Washington - both Democrats and Republicans - stopped supporting such an approach a decade ago, it would be sensitive and hard enough already for Washington and Seoul to coordinate closely on North Korea policy", Straub said.

"The United States is willing to sit down with North Korea and have a conversation", Nauert said.

Ken Gause, director of the International Affairs Group at the Center for Naval Analyses, noted that for now, South Korea "seems to be on the same page with the United States on THAAD" in light of the growing threats emanating from the North, which tested two long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July.

"The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means", Moon said.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises involving thousands of American and South Korean troops are to begin on Monday.

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