North Korea has threatened to take “quick, overwhelming action” after the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over the Korean Peninsula in an exercise with South Korean warplanes.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of dictator Kim Jong-Un, made the threat as the U.S. and South Korea continue to carry out joint military exercises.
“We keep our eye on the restless military moves by the U.S. forces and the South Korean puppet military and are always on standby to take appropriate, quick and overwhelming action at any time according to our judgment,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement, as reported by state media.
She added, “The demonstrative military moves and all sorts of rhetoric by the U.S. and South Korea, which go so extremely frantic as not to be overlooked, undoubtedly provide (North Korea) with conditions for being forced to do something to cope with them.”
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North Korea’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the flyover.
In a separate statement, an unnamed ministry official called it a reckless provocation that pushes the peninsula “deeper into the bottomless quagmire.”
The statement added: “There is no guarantee that there will be no violent physical conflict” if the joint military exercises continue.
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South Korea’s Defense Ministry defended the use of the B-52’s deployment in Monday’s training, saying it demonstrated the capabilities of the U.S. and South Korea to deter North Korean aggressions.
This was not the first time the U.S. has sent a long-range B-1B bomber or multiple B-1Bs to the peninsula.
The joint military exercises, which North Korea describes as “provocations,” were canceled or scaled back during previous diplomatic attempts and amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They have since ramped up, especially in light of North Korea bolstering its ballistic missile program, conducting a record number of missile tests and openly threatening to use its nuclear weapons.
Last Friday, the South Korean and U.S. militaries initially announced they restore their springtime field exercises and would conduct a computer-simulated command post training from March 13-23. The massive springtime exercise was previously canceled by former President Donald Trump in 2018.
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Last month, Kim Yo Jong said North Korea would continue its missile testing, going as far as to say her country would turn the Pacific into a missile firing range. On Tuesday, she reiterated that North Korea would consider an attempt by the U.S. to intercept one of its intercontinental ballistic missiles as a declaration of war.
North Korea has so far utilized steep angles in its ICBM tests to avoid the perception of launching the missiles at neighboring countries. The weapons have subsequently landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Earlier this week, South Korea announced an agreement with Japan to ease a historical dispute and boost the trilateral Seoul-Tokyo-Washington security cooperation.
The plan involved Japan using local funds to compensate Koreans who performed forced labor during Tokyo’s colonial rule.
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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel commended the leaders of South Korea and Japan, saying the “potential of collaboration into the future is more important and has a greater value and realizing you have to deal with historic issues.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report