North Korea Warns Against Resumption Joint US-South Korean Drills
Kevin Ryu, Feb. 19, 2018, 11:41 a.m.
North Korea warned the United States on Monday against resuming joint military drills with Seoul, which have been postponed until after the PyeongChang Winter Games. Washington should be blamed for any deterioration of the recent rapprochement between the two Koreas as a result, it added. The Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, said in its commentary that Washington has thrown cold water on any signs of detente that emerge between the two Koreas with what it called the U.S.' war rehearsals.
"The U.S. has a purpose to end a thaw in inter-Korean ties immediately after the Olympic flame goes out. The U.S. is making noise to resume its military exercises with Seoul right after the Games' closing," the newspaper said.
A rare reconciliatory mood between the two Koreas set in after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un accepted Seoul's request that it participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Earlier, Seoul and Washington delayed their annual military drills until after the March 9-18 Paralympics.
There is a possibility that the North could make provocations if Seoul and Washington conduct the exercises, which Pyongyang has long denounced as a rehearsal for a northern invasion.
"Risks of tensions are growing on the Korean Peninsula," the North's paper said. "Washington's strategic assets and massive troops are coming to the peninsula and its adjacent areas," it claimed.
Kim Jong-un has invited President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang through his younger sister Kim Yo-jong, who was sent to Seoul as a special envoy. In response, Moon called for efforts to create the right conditions for a potential summit.
"The government is making multifaceted efforts to restore inter-Korean relations, resolve North Korea's nuclear issue and bring peace to the Korean Peninsula," Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman at Seoul's unification ministry, told a press briefing.
He added that nothing has been decided over whether the South will send a special envoy to the North.