US Drills Have Pushed Situation to ‘Extreme red-line’: North Korea Warns Biden; The White House Responds
New Delhi: In an apparent warning to President Joe Biden, North Korea on Thursday (February 2, 2023) said that drills by the United States and its allies have pushed the situation to an “extreme red-line” and threatened to turn the peninsula into a “huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone.” In a statement, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that Pyongyang was “not interested in dialogue” as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.
“The military and political situation on the Korean peninsula and in the region has reached an extreme red-line due to the reckless military confrontational maneuvers and hostile acts of the US and its vassal forces,” the news agency Reuters quoted an unnamed ministry spokesperson as speaking.
The statement cited a visit to Seoul this week by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Earlier on Tuesday, Austin and his South Korean counterpart vowed to expand military drills and deploy more “strategic assets,” such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea’s weapons development and prevent a war.
“This is a vivid expression of the US dangerous scenario which will result in turning the Korean peninsula into a huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone,” the North Korean statement read.
North Korea will respond to any military moves by the United States, and has strong counteraction strategies, including “the most overwhelming nuclear force” if necessary, the statement said.
US has ‘no hostile intent’ toward North Korea: White House
Meanwhile, the White House rejected North Korean accusations that joint military exercises in the region are a provocation and said the United States has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang.
“We have made clear we have no hostile intent toward the DPRK (North Korea) and seek serious and sustained diplomacy to address the full range of issues of concern to both countries and the region,” a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said. .
The White House statement also reiterated a US willingness “to meet with DPRK representatives at a time and place convenient for them.”
“We reject the notion that our joint exercises with partners in the region serve as any sort of provocation. These are routine exercises fully consistent with past practice,” the official said.
“The United States is continuing to work closely with allies and partners to ensure peace and stability in the region. At the same time, we will continue to work with allies and partners to fully enforce UN Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community and to limit the DPRK’s ability to advance its illegal weapons programs and threaten regional stability,” the official added.
The development comes a day after the United States and South Korea carried out a joint air drill with American B-1B heavy bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, as well as F-35 jets from both countries.
It is noteworthy that more than 28,500 American troops are based in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
Last year, Kim Jong-un’s North Korea conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests, which are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions.