North Korea threatens catastrophe to follow joint South-U.S. drills in March

Su Jin Jang, Feb. 2, 2017, 9:49 a.m.


North Korea issued a threat Wednesday that the upcoming annual joint military drills between South Korea and the United States will result in a catastrophic outcome as the U.S. defense secretary is set to travel to Seoul this week to discuss ways to reinforce the alliance against the North.

"The problem is the South Korean government, in defiance of the atmosphere, is already making a fuss about taking the path to push ahead with Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises in March and bring in again U.S. nuclear strategic assets," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in its statement carried by the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"It's needless to say what catastrophic outcome could result when such nuclear war rehearsals take place in front of us at a time our strategic status has changed," the statement said, suggesting the country's possession of own nuclear weapons.

Touching on South Korea's internal political instability following the president's impeachment in December, the statement said "If the South Korean government ventures reckless confrontation and provocations as a way to overcome internal turmoil, it could result in unimaginable conflicts and war."

   The latest statement comes as U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is scheduled to visit Seoul on Thursday and Friday in his first overseas trip after taking office.

Topics for his talks with Defense Minister Han Min-koo reportedly include the issue of whether Washington will deploy its strategic military assets to South Korea on a regular rotational basis to better deter any North Korean military provocations.

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