North Korean state media on Friday chided a weeklong Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense drill by the US Forces Korea, calling on the South Korean government to “behave with discretion.”
The exercise at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, focused on reloading inert munitions in launchers of a THAAD battery.
North Korea’s propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in its commentary that the recent drill was a “military provocation that ruins the hard-won peace atmosphere on the Choson peninsula,” and that it was an “overt threat” to Pyongyang.
The website said: “It would be a foolish miscalculation if the US still thinks it can achieve its foul purpose by threatening us with force, after dealing with us all this time.”
Uriminzokkiri also warned the South Korean government, saying “following the reckless hostilities of the US would only lead to bad results.”
Another propaganda outlet Arirang Meari said the fact that the USFK conducted such an exercise “shows who is the real destroyer of peace and nuclear warmonger.”
The North Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun criticized the recent US decision to deploy THAAD in Romania in a commentary titled “The contradiction that intensifies with the THAAD deployment in Europe.”
The newspaper said that neighboring European countries were wary and Russia sees the THAAD deployment as a move targeted at them, and was therefore stepping up new weapons development.
Following the breakdown of the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February, Pyongyang has reacted sensitively to issues of military cooperation between South Korea and the US.
The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country slammed the scaled-back joint air force drill by the US and South Korea on April 25, saying it was a violation of the inter-Korean military agreement, and that it could put inter-Korean ties in irrevocable danger.
The latest response by the North’s state media also appears to reiterate Kim’s position on inter-Korean exchanges that have been constrained by relations with the US.
Kim said in a speech at the Supreme People’s Assembly on April 12 that the US was openly coercing South Korea to “control the speed” of exchanges with the North, and that it was scheming to make the implementation of inter-Korean agreements submissive to Washington’s sanctions policy.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)