North Korea says U.S. drills have pushed situation to ‘extreme red-line’ -KCNA

SEOUL, Feb 2 (Reuters) – North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the exercises by the United States and its allies have made the situation “deep red” and threaten to turn the island into “a huge military base and a huge military base. A very difficult military environment.” “

The statement, which was carried by state news agency KCNA, said Pyongyang was not interested in talks as long as Washington followed hostile policies.

“The military and political situation on the Korean peninsula and in the region has worsened due to the reckless fighting of the US military and its forces,” an unnamed ministry spokesman said in a statement.

The statement cited a visit to Seoul this week by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. On Tuesday Austin and his South Korean counterpart vowed to expand their military arsenal and send more “goods”, such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea’s weapons and prevent war.

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“This is a clear indication of the dangerous actions of the US that will cause the Korean peninsula to turn into a major war zone and a very difficult military zone,” North Korea said.

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North Korea will respond to any military action by the United States, and has strong countermeasures, including “more nuclear power” if necessary, the statement added.

More than 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in war rather than a peace treaty.

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Last year, North Korea carried out several missile tests, which are prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions. It was also seen reopening its shuttered nuclear test site, raising hopes of its first nuclear test since 2017.

In New York, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and asked the UN to continue monitoring North Korea’s recent actions and work to impose sanctions on the regime.

Guterres said North Korea’s additional nuclear tests would seriously damage local and international security, and reaffirmed support for peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to Park’s office.

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Park is on a four-day visit to the United States, which will include a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday.

On Wednesday, the United States and South Korea fired together American B-1B bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, as well as F-35 fighter jets from both countries, according to the Ministry of Defense in South Korea.

“The air strikes this time demonstrate the US’s will and ability to provide strong and reliable defense against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Josh Smith reports; Additional reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Edited by Jonathan Oatis, Bill Berkrot and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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