N. Korea warns Seoul will 'pay dearly' for escalating tensions

Jay Yim, Aug. 9, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

North Korea blasted South Korea on Thursday for conducting joint military exercises with the United States and deploying high-tech U.S. fighter jets, warning Seoul will "pay dearly" for escalating tensions on the peninsula.

"The joint military exercises which have been conducted by the South Korean authorities with outsiders century after century are the root cause escalating tension on the Korean peninsula and blocking the development of the inter-Korean relations," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

It was the committee's first statement criticizing South Korea since April 25, when it lashed out at South Korea-U.S. joint air force exercises.

"The north and the south, in their agreement in the military field for implementing the Panmunjom declaration, agreed each other to completely halt all hostile acts of becoming the root cause of military tensions and conflicts on the ground and in the air and the sea and all other spaces," the English-language statement said.

"But the south Korean authorities are staging north-targeted attack drills in camera in league with outsiders," it added.

The committee also slammed South Korea's "frantic arms build-up against the fellow countrymen" citing its deployment of U.S.-made F-35A stealth fighters.

"The South Korean authorities, who have been disloyal to the fellow countrymen and abetted the U.S. in the moves for invading the DPRK, can never escape from the responsibility of compelling the DPRK to take countermeasures for eliminating potential and direct threats to its security, and will pay dearly for it," the statement also said.

DPRK is the abbreviation of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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