Pyongyang said any US attempt to disrupt its weapons tests would be considered a “clear declaration of war”.
North Korea has vowed to respond with “overwhelming” when the US military attempts to intercept missiles fired during test launches. The warning came hours after Washington and Seoul conducted their latest round of aerial exercises involving at least one nuclear-capable bomber.
In a statement on Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong — the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a senior figure in the ruling Workers’ Party — responded to a recent press release citing a senior U.S. military official as saying the Pentagon would immediately intercept any long-range missile launched by the DPRK in the Pacific.
“If a military response such as an intercept follows our strategic weapons test, which is conducted without endangering the security of neighboring countries on the high seas and in airspace not under the jurisdiction of the United States, it will undoubtedly be considered as a clear declaration of war,” she said in comments from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
She added that the North would closely monitor all U.S. and U.S. military movements “South Korean Puppet Army,” declare that Pyongyang is ready to respond “Striking, fast-paced and overwhelming action at any time.”
The rebuke came on the heels of joint air exercises conducted by the US and South Korea on Monday in which at least one nuclear-capable B-52H strategic bomber flew alongside South Korean warplanes as a show of force against the DPRK. Similar exercises were also launched last Friday, including a US B-1B bomber, while another exercise will be held next week to simulate a response to a North Korean missile attack.
Washington and Seoul chose to host the exercises despite repeated objections from Pyongyang, which has denounced such exercises as preparations for an attack and also warned that they could lead to “unprecedented stubbornness and strong counter-actions.”
Over the weekend, North Korea appealed to the United Nations to halt exercises altogether and called on the international community to do so “Strongly urge the US and South Korea to immediately halt their provocative remarks and joint military exercises.” Kim Son-gyong, a top foreign ministry official, complained that the global body has never condemned the war games, despite their “obviously aggressive character,” are going to accuse Washington and Seoul of it “irresponsibly raising the level of confrontation” in the region.
North Korea asks UN to rein in US
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