North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is calling for the army to make war preparations with the U.S. and its allies after the U.S. and South Korean armies conducted a joint military exercise on Friday.
This is not the first time the North Korean dictator ratcheted up provocative war rhetoric. The leader frequently protests such drills, claiming that they are a threat to North Korea and an act of open hostility, and has recently ramped up North Korean war games, including an increase in air, land, and sea military exercises.
The official, state-run KCNA news agency said, “The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will wage a merciless sacred war against the U.S. now that the latter has chosen confrontation,” pulling the quote from its ruling party’s newspaper, the Rodong Sinmum.
Kim Jong-un made several concerning comments regarding the military drills, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
“The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People’s Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially.”
These statements further adds to the tension between the two Koreas and increases the chance of hostilities between the two nations.
Friday’s drill was a precursor to an eight-week exercise code-named “Foal Eagle,” which will involve air, ground and naval training. The field exercises will include about 200,000 Korean and 3,700 U.S. troops and is scheduled to begin on Monday.
While both Washington and Seoul maintain that the drills are defensive in nature, the North Korean government sees it as a threat to its sovereignty. State news agencies are quick to reinforce Kim Jong-un’s war rhetoric
“Nuclear weapons are not a monopoly of the U.S. The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks its mainland is safe.”
In response to these kinds of threats, Washington passed a bill strengthening sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to stifle the companies who wish to do business with North Korea with punitive damages.
Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs spoke at a Washington’s Carnegie Endowment think tank and told attendees that mounting international pressure on North Korea was working and that Pyongyang was increasingly isolate. Sherman added that that Kim Jong-un was trying “to conceal a weak hand… through a clenched fist.”
Pyongyang insists that Washington is “much upset by the fact that there may be a sign of detente on the Korean peninsula, thanks to the DPRK’s initiative and efforts to achieve peace this year.”
Even so, peace talks supposedly aimed at subduing tensions have been unsuccessful and North Korean officials have described relations between the two Koreas as “inching towards catastrophe.”
The question remain as to which actions the White House will take in order to subdue North Korea. While Kim Jong-un may possess short range nuclear capabilities that could affect troops overseas, the Pentagon assures that they have the ability to intercept any North Korean airstrikes long before hitting the mainland.
[Image courtesy of AFP]