© Reuters / Kim Hong-ji
Pyongyang threatened on Wednesday to retaliate if the United States goes ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korea, ramping up pressure on Washington to change course as a year-end North Korean deadline for U.S. flexibility approaches.
North Korea’s statement came even though Washington said last week that the joint aerial exercise planned for next month would be reduced in scope from previous drills, Reuters reports.
“It is self-defense rights” to retaliate against any move which threatens the country’s sovereignty and security, according to a statement from North Korea’s State Affairs Commission. It is rare for the Commission, the supreme governing body chaired by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to release a statement.
Last week, a senior North Korean diplomat blamed the US joint aerial drill for “throwing cold water” over talks with Washington.