US missile deployment to South Korea ‘reckless act:’ North
North Korea has warned against a potential move by the United States to deploy ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in South Korea, saying such a move would spark “a new Cold War” between the regional powers.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made the warning in an editorial on Wednesday, saying the potential deployment would be a “reckless act of escalating tension” in the region.
It also warned that any further deployment on the South’s soil would be a “path to self-destruction” that could turn South Korea into a “bullet-shield.”
The plan for a potential deployment was announced by Pentagon chief Mark Esper, immediately after President Donald Trump terminated a Cold War-era treaty — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) — with Russia, which banned missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers.
Many observers have already warned that the treaty’s demise would lead to an arms race between the world nuclear powers.
The North Korean news agency also criticized South Korea’s recent moves to improve the military sites in the country that already host a US missile system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems.
“It is a hard fact that the deployment of THAAD is pursuant to the US strategy to contain great powers and hold supremacy in Northeast Asia, not the one for ‘shielding’ South Korea from someone’s ‘threat,’” it said.
“The South Korean authorities should meditate before it becomes too late what its blind act of submission will bring,” the commentary added.
Another North Korean newspaper, The Rodong Sinmun, also published a commentary on the same day, saying the potential deployment would lead to a “challenge” to those who seek peace in the region.
Meanwhile, and despite Esper’s announcement, South Korea’s Defense Ministry has said there has been no discussion about placing American missiles in the country and there are no plans to consider the idea.