“The US is taking grave and hostile actions behind the curtain of the dialogue taking place,” Uriminjokkiri, the state-controlled website that provides news from North Korea’s Central News Agency, said on Friday. The media outlet claims that this hostility is evidenced by US moves to deploy its forces to Japan, the Philippines and South Korea for secret training that targets North Korea.
“We are playing closer attention than ever to covert operations the US is pushing to target us behind the curtain of dialogue and [we are] ready to take all necessary countermeasures against them,” it warned.
The statement comes just days after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that, despite cancelling “several of the largest exercises” in the Korean peninsula, the US is not going to suspend any more. He went further, revealing that there are ongoing drills in the region “all the time,” but this fact is not widely known as “North Korea couldn’t in any way misinterpret those as somehow breaking faith with the [denuclearization] negotiations.” Indeed, Pyongyang has always condemned any maneuvers on its doorstep, considering them a threat to its national security.
The North’s media outlet stressed that if the relations with the US deteriorate like last year and “the Korean Peninsula is facing the worst war crisis,” then those “conspiring for such military plots” would take full responsibility for it.
“Rather than engaging in a useless military gamble, it [the US] should do its part to implement the historic North Korea-US joint statement,” Uriminjokkiri added.
Since the landmark summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, where they agreed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, bilateral relations have swung back and forth. Trump at first lauded the results of the meeting and praised Kim, but last week he cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the North, citing insufficient progress with denuclearization – blaming China for hindering the process. In an apparent attempt to soften the impact of this decision, the president sent his “warmest regards and respect” to Kim, and said that Pompeo “looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future,” once the current row with Beijing is resolved.