North Korea crisis: United States and South Korea to conduct joint exercise
22 August, 2017, 02:11
Even Russia and China, two countries that have previously differed with others on how to handle Pyongyang, participated in this vote and joined in calls for North Korea to stop its missile tests; however, they also urged the USA and South Korea to halt military drills.
Pyongyang also declared that its Army can target the United States any time and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the U.S. mainland can "dodge the merciless strike".
Its top propaganda paper, the Rodong Sinmun, on Sunday wrote the exercise is "the most explicit expression of hostility against" North Korea, would be like "pouring gasoline on fire" and worsen the state of the peninsula.
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The report said the Korean People's army is maintaining a high alert and fully ready to confront the enemies.
Moon noted that if Pyongyang makes "a bold decision" to halt its nuclear and missile programs, military tensions on the peninsula will ease and the two Koreas could work together with the worldwide community to "bring about stability and prosperity", something he has repeatedly said since taking office on May 10.
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But the threats triggered a stern warning from Washington.
South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, said on Monday the drills are defensive in nature. "The government will make all efforts to make sure that the current situation doesn't escalate into the crisis of war while working with the global community based on the strong Korea-U.S. alliance".
The exercise is the largest annual computerized command-and-control operation in the world.
China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the exercises.
The Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on August 5 that could slash its $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. Pyongyang eventually reneged on an agreement to dismantle its nuclear reactors - one among many reasons the USA doesn't trust North Korea. "I want to warn North Korea to do no more risky gambling", Moon said.
North Korea warned on Sunday that the U.S. would be "pouring gasoline on fire" by conducting an annual war game in the South amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
"The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means", Moon said.
In June, China initiated a road map for the settlement of North Korean crisis, the so-called double freeze plan, which provides for the simultaneous cessation of North Korea's nuclear activity and the US-South Korean military exercises. "The U.S. has to be responsible for the ensuing disasters".
"The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response", it said in an editorial.
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