Nov 13, 2019 20:17 UTC
  • North Korea warns of reprisal against US-South Korea military exercises

North Korea has threatened to retaliate amid planned military drills between the United States and South Korea that comes at a time of Pyongyang's stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

The State Affairs Commission, North Korea’s supreme decision-making body chaired by North's leader Kim Jong-un, said in a statement on Wednesday "It is self-defense rights" to retaliate against any move which threatens the country's sovereignty and security, without giving any further details.

“The United States must show self-restraint and refrain from careless actions at a sensitive time when the joint exercises can send the political situation of the Korean Peninsula back to square one,” an unidentified spokesperson for the commission said.

“If the current flow in the political situation doesn’t change, the United States will soon face a bigger threat and harsh suffering that will force them to acknowledge their mistake,” the spokesperson added.

Last week, senior North Korean diplomat Kwon Jong Gun said in a statement that the joint military drills was equivalent to a "declaration for confrontation" that could jeopardize the diplomatic process.

He said that the military drills amounted to "throwing a wet blanket over the spark" of nuclear talks, warning that "Our patience is reaching an uppermost limit."

Last year, Washington and Seoul canceled the combined air exercise known as Vigilant Ace amid a diplomatic thaw with the North, which considers them a rehearsal for invasion.

The denuclearization talks have stalled since the collapse of a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam in February.

According to the Wednesday's statement, Pyongyang has a "feeling of betrayal" as it had taken measures to calm the US’ concerns but that Washington had failed to reciprocate.

Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore in June 2018. Based on a joint statement that was adopted following the summit, the two sides agreed to work toward denuclearization, but that agreement, made in a written document, was broadly worded and the details of such cooperation remain to be worked out.

Following that agreement, Pyongyang took several steps toward denuclearization. It demolished at least one nuclear test site and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.