North Korea Warns US Missile Tests Would be a Declaration of War
North Korea has warned that any US attempt to intercept its missile tests will be treated as a “declaration of war”.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday that Pyongyang blamed the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea for the escalation of tensions.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, warned in a statement that Pyongyang would view it as a “declaration of war” if the United States took military action against North Korea’s strategic weapons tests.
It also hinted that North Korea could launch more missiles into the Pacific. The United States and its allies have never shot down North Korean ballistic missiles, which are banned by the United Nations Security Council, but the question has drawn fresh scrutiny because North Korea has indicated it will fire more missiles at Japan.
“The Pacific Ocean does not belong to the sovereignty of the United States or Japan,” Kim said.
Analysts said that if North Korea continues its threat to turn the Pacific into a “firing range,” it will allow the isolated, nuclear-armed country to make technical advances as well as signal its military resolve.
In a separate statement, the head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s foreign news department accused the US of “exacerbating” the situation by conducting joint air exercises with the B-52 bomber on Monday and planning field exercises between the US and South Korea.
In response, South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, said Pyongyang’s “reckless nuclear and missile development” was to blame for the deterioration of the situation.
The United States has deployed the B-52 bomber to conduct a joint exercise with South Korean fighter jets, in what the South Korean Defense Ministry described as a show of force against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
The two countries will hold more than ten days of large-scale military exercises known as the “Freedom Shield” exercises, starting next week.
US and South Korean warplanes trained on Tuesday to take off quickly, Yonhap news agency reported, in a drill designed in response to North Korea’s threats to destroy airports.
About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, leaving the nations technically at war.
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