Why the US risks 'serious security crisis' in war of words with North Korea

North Korea missile test is a ‘major threat’ to US says Jack Keane

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The USA and South Korea have been subject to a warning from North Korea over “hostile acts” taking place in the country over the next two weeks. The joint military exercises by the US and South Korea are risking “a serious security crisis”, it’s been claimed. But why is the US risking such a crisis with North Korea?

North Korea levied accusations at the United States and South Korea today. It claimed the nations deliberately missed an opportunity to improve relations, as they continue to conduct joint military drills.

North Korean general and politician Kim Yong Chol said the countries are risking a “serious security crisis” by failing to choose peace over escalating tensions further.

Mr Yong Chol criticised both countries for responding to Pyongyang’s goodwill with “hostile acts”.

The statement came just a day after his sister, Kim Yo Jong, warned Seoul and Washington DC about the joint military drills this week.

READ MORE: Kim Jong Un’s sister fires warning to US and South Korea

US crisis: Mr Biden and Kim Jong Un

US crisis: (Image: GETTY)

US crisis: North Korean leader

US crisis: North Korea has warned the US and South Korea over ‘hostile acts’ (Image: GETTY)

North Korean general Kim Yong Chol denounced South Korea or the actions and said the South must be made to “clearly understand how dearly they have to pay” for choosing their alliance with Washington over peace between the Koreas.

Mr Yong Chol added: “We will make them realise by the minute what a dangerous choice they made and what a serious security crisis they will face because of their wrong choice.”

US leader Joe Biden has said it is up to Pyongyang to respond to his pledge to seek “practical” ways to engage.

North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that the US and South Korea have clung to hostile policies including regular military drills.

US crisis: Military

US crisis: Military drills began in the country on Tuesday (Image: GETTY)

In a statement carried by North Korean state news agency KCNA, Ms Yo Jong said the exercises are an “act of self-destruction for which a dear price should be paid as they threaten the safety of our people and further imperil the situation on the Korean peninsula”.

She added: “They are the most vivid expression of the US hostile policy towards [North Korea], designed to stifle our state by force.”

She accused South Korea of “perfidious behaviour” and said North Korea would step up efforts to strengthen its preemptive strike capabilities.

The North Korean Government official added she had been delegated authority to release the statement, implying the message came directly from her brother.

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US crisis: Kim Jong Un

US crisis: Ms Yo Jong said exercises were an ‘act of self-destruction’ (Image: GETTY)

For the second day in a row, North Korea did not answer routine calls on inter-Korean hotlines, South Korea said on Wednesday.

The two Koreas typically check in over the hotlines twice a day since they were reconnected at the end of July.

North Korea severed them more than a year prior amid rising tensions.

However, the resumption of the calls was seen as a sign of improving tensions between North and South Korea.

US crisis: Mr Jong Un

US crisis: The two Koreas typically check in twice a day (Image: GETTY)

South Korea and the US began preliminary training on Tuesday with larger, computer-simulated exercises scheduled for next week.

The drills are supposed to take place from August 16 to 26 – but have already increased tensions in the area.

The nuclear-armed North’s reaction could potentially disrupt efforts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to reopen a joint liaison office, which Pyongyang blew up last year and to hold a summit as part of efforts to restore relations.

In recent years the drills have been scaled back in a bid to facilitate talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes in return for US sanctions relief.

The fraught relations come after Kim Jong Un told his country to prepare for “both dialogue and confrontation” with the United States in June.

The comments came months after Mr Jong Un ignored Washington’s attempts to restart stalled negotiations about nuclear arms.

State media said the North Korean leader “stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation”.

The two-pronged approach of coupling diplomacy and militaristic threats is a stratagem which has been used by Mr Jong Un in the past.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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