North Korea warned of retaliatory military actions against South Korea and the U.S. on Sunday, denouncing the allies’ criticism of its recent missile launches and artillery drills.
The North’s powerful National Defense Commission argued that the launches were not provocations as the allies have contended, but the legitimate exercise of its sovereignty to strengthen its self-defense capabilities.
“The U.S. and South Korea should not dare to talk of the (North’s) provocations or threats anymore and should not act rashly,” said the NDC in a statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. “If they continue to do that, we will strongly respond with real retaliatory actions of justice.”
The NDC statement was issued after the U.N. Security Council released a press statement last Thursday formally criticizing the North for violating the UNSC resolutions that bar the communist state from testing ballistic missile technology.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry countered the North’s argument about its sovereignty, stressing that the North should behave in accordance with international norms and rules.
Arguing that it had done everything it could do to improve inter-Korean relations, the NDC statement also said that the only thing left at present is the “final choice.”
On the same day, the Rodong Sinmun, the daily of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, also issued a spiteful commentary against the South and its President Park Geun-hye.
“Should (the South) hurt our sovereignty and pride even a little, it would become a target of our sophisticated, precision striking means,” said the daily.
The paper blasted the remarks Park made during her meeting with military leaders last week. At the meeting, Park urged the top brass to make a “quick, strong response” to any future provocations by the North.
Meanwhile, the North is reportedly planning to stage a large-scale national-level amphibious landing exercise, apparently to protest the South Korea-U.S. Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise slated for next month.
“We have spotted signs of the North preparing a large-scale amphibious landing exercise off its western coastal region for two to three weeks,” said a Seoul official on condition of anonymity.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)