North Korea has once again threatened to “retaliate against the U.S. with tremendous muscle” if the country does not cancel military exercises with South Korea and other countries, which is scheduled to begin Monday.
The exercises and the threats are nothing new. South Korea conducts the yearly exercises, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, with the United States and other allies “to enhance… readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula,” according to a statement from the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and reported by CNN.
North Korea creates its own time zone as a snub to “wicked Japanese imperialists” http://t.co/Fz1LZcA232 pic.twitter.com/ZqHteN3nkz
— Carbonated.TV (@CarbonatedTV) August 7, 2015
Just like the war games are a yearly event, so is North Korea’s threats of retaliation.
This year, a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defense Commission upped the level of threats, as reported by the International Business Times.
“The further Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises are intensified, the strongest military counteraction the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will take to cope with them.”
An official with the State Department told CNN on Saturday that they were aware of the threats and reiterated that the exercises are “transparent, defense-minded and are designed to increase the readiness of South Korea and the region.”
“These exercises are a clear demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the alliance.”
The reclusive regime seems to feel a sudden surge of confidence in its military might, according to a NDC spokesman.
“The army and people of the DPRK are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the U.S. nukes with rifles is the invincible power equipped with both [the] latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world.”
— RT (@RT_com) August 16, 2015
A North Korean state television report went so far as to threaten to attack the U.S. on its own soil.
“If [the] United States wants their mainland to be safe, then the Ulchi Freedom Guardian should stop immediately.”
A former Army general who participated in previous Ulchi exercises, Lt. Gen. Mark Hurtling, said the regime’s rhetoric is just an attempt to get noticed.
“One of the key propaganda goals of the young leader is to just get on the radar of the U.S. With all the other things we’re focused on — ISIS, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Russia and Ukraine, etc., Kim Jong Un wants to ensure he grabs attention.”
Despite North Korea’s threat, the military exercises, which will also include forces from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, is scheduled to begin Monday and will conclude August 28.
[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]