SEOUL – North Korea accused the United States on Thursday of wanting to provoke a war on the Korean peninsula following Washington’s large-scale joint military maneuvers with South Korea in the region, and called comments made by US senior officials “warmongering.”
“The careless remarks of war by the inner circle of Trump and the reckless military moves by the US substantiate that the current US administration has made a decision to provoke a war on the Korean peninsula,” said a spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, according to the state news agency KCNA.
Pyongyang believes that Washington has adopted a “step-by-step” approach to triggering the conflict and that the only remaining question now is “when will the war break out.”
The spokesperson said “we do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it,” and warned the US that Pyongyang “will surely make the US dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened.”
The comments from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs come at a time marked by the “Vigilant ACE” drill, the largest-ever US-South Korea aerial forces annual exercise which is scheduled to conclude on Friday and appears to be another show of strength in response to North Korea’s missile threats.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have increased significantly in recent months since North Korea conducted its latest nuclear test in September and launched several more ballistic missiles, the most advanced of which was conducted on Nov. 29.
National Security Adviser to the White House Lieutenant General Herbert R. McMaster said earlier last week that the possibility of war between US and North Korea “is increasing every day,” while Republican Senator Lindsey Graham urged the Pentagon to begin moving families of US military personnel out of South Korea as he believed a war with North Korea is approaching.
Pyongyang Thursday labeled those remarks “warmongering” and said they can only be interpreted “as a warning to us to be prepared for a war,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, adding that “the world should not harbor any prejudice in discerning who the main culprit behind the tense situation on the Korean peninsula is.”