North Korea warns of 'second Korean War' ahead of joint drills

Pauline Gross
August 19, 2017

Suh again highlighted doubts about North Korea's claims about its military capability.

"The exercises remain important to us and we'll continue to move forward", Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said Monday during a press conference at command headquarters alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

A state-run media outlet reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he would watch the United States "a little more" rather than responding quickly, but would "make an important decision, as it already declared", if the "Yankees persist in their extremely unsafe reckless actions on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity".

It will be interesting to see what Dunford finds in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for restraint in dealing with North Korea.

The Trump administration has rejected that appeal in the past, and the Pentagon gave no indication Tuesday that it was changing its plans even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted he was looking for a way to restart negotiations. He said cooperation is the only right option for China and the United States, and the two sides could be great partners.

On August 6, the United Nations Security Council approved tough sanctions that could cost North Korea US$1 billion a year.

One day, the State Department would unequivocally say that the U.S. does not seek regime change in North Korea, but the next the Central Intelligence Agency director comes along and drops heavy hints that taking out the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, is the goal. "The difference now is the war of words". This followed President Trump's warning to unleash "fire and fury" against Pyongyang if it endangered the US. In recent months, China has joined with Russian Federation in calling for the suspend annual military drills with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang placing a moratorium on new missile and nuclear tests as a first step toward direct talks.

On Monday, the USA staged joint military exercises with Japan and would also hold similar exercises with the Republic of Korea in the region next week, which may antagonize the DPRK and undermine regional peace.

The North accused the United States of mobilizing a huge number of weapons and troops for annual military drills with South Korea that begin later this month.

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The comments come as the crisis on the peninsula appears to be cooling. But it comes at an especially sensitive time now, following the exchange of a series of threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea.

Washington and Seoul agreed past year to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in a remote southeastern region to counter the growing threat from North Korea.

The latest USA and North Korean sabre-rattling has sparked concern that a miscalculation by either side could trigger a catastrophic conflict, although many analysts voice doubts over such a prospect.

The United States and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills next week, the top US military official said on Thursday, resisting pressure from North Korea and its ally China to halt the contentious exercises.

The US leader was "trying to pressure North Korea by showing a firm resolution", he said. The United States' top military commander is on a tour of East Asia, and met with South Korean President Jae-in Moon today.

A global index of stocks rose, after fears of a US-North Korea nuclear standoff had driven it to the biggest weekly losses of 2017, while the dollar also strengthened.

Jin Soo-young, 33, said she believes North Korea's missile tests are created to force the USA and South Korea to negotiate for a peace treaty to replace the armistice that left the sides technically at war after three years of bitter fighting ended in 1953.

Now even former US officials believe negotiations will no longer get North Korea to scrap its nuclear and missile programs.

Other reports by GizPress

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