North Korean leader’s sister threatens ‘overwhelming’ response to US, South Korea military exercises
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jon-Un, said the nation was ready to take "quick, overwhelming action" in response to US and South Korean joint military drills elsewhere on the peninsula.
The US and South Korean militaries were training together on Monday. The exercises included the use of B-52 bombers, which are capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, according to the Associated Press.
North Korea has previously test-launched its own missiles in response to US and South Korean military exercises.
“We keep our eye on the restless military moves by the U.S. forces and the South Korean puppet military and are always on standby to take appropriate, quick and overwhelming action at any time according to our judgment,” Ms Yo jong said in a statement featured on North Korea's state media.
She claimed the "frantic" military exercises of the US and South Korea may require North Korea to "cope with them."
“The demonstrative military moves and all sorts of rhetoric by the U.S. and South Korea, which go so extremely frantic as not to be overlooked, undoubtedly provide (North Korea) with conditions for being forced to do something to cope with them,” she said.
North Korea's top military leadership, the General Staff Department, claimed hours later that "the enemy" had committed a "very grave military provocation" by firing artillery near the border town of Paju on Tuesday.
The GSD then demanded that the US and South Korea cease their military activities near the border. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the claims were nonsense and that no artillery training occurred in that region.
The US and South Korea are also on track to renew large-scale field exercises for the first time since 2018. The drills were significantly scaled back after 2018 due to the stagnation of US-North Korean diplomacy efforts and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea is also revving its military machine, conducting more missile tests last year than at any other point in modern history.
The isolated nation's fiery rhetoric is back in full force as well, with Ms Yo Jong threatening to turn the entire Pacific into North Korea's firing range in a statement she gave last month.
She also said that if the US were to intercept a North Korean ICBM, her brother might consider the move a declaration of war. Ms Yo Jong cited a report in South Korean media saying the US would shoot down North Korean missiles if there is a test launch aimed at the Pacific.
In the past, North Korean missiles have generally landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.