North Korea on Thursday responded to the US and South Korea announcing they would be expanding joint military exercises, warning the steps are pushing toward an “extreme red-line” and will provoke the “toughest reaction.”
“The military and political situation in the Korean peninsula and the region has reached an extremely dangerous phase due to the reckless military confrontations and hostile acts of the US and its vassal forces,” a spokesperson for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
On top of increasing the size of upcoming military drills, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the US will deploy more “strategic assets” to the Korean Peninsula, including bombers and fighter jets.
“If the US continues to introduce strategic assets into the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding area, the DPRK will make clearer its deterring activities without fail according to their nature,” the North Korean statement said.
Pyongyang said that it would respond under the principle of “nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation.”
In 2022, North Korea launched a record number of missile tests as the US and South Korea began holding large-scale joint exercises for the first time since 2017. The US and South Korean plans to increase those war games this year are almost guaranteed to provoke more weapons tests, and the Biden administration shows no interest in backing down.
The White House claimed that it has no “hostile intent” toward North Korea and insisted it seeks “serious and sustained diplomacy.” But Pyongyang said it won’t hold a dialogue with the US as long as it pursues a “hostile policy” and keeps ramping up its military activity in the region.