North Korea issues warning to US and South Korea over 'hostile acts'

Seúl A senior North Korean official has denounced South Korea over its joint military exercises with the United States, which are due to begin this week, warning that such actions risked provokinga serious security crisis.

They must be made to clearly understand how dearly they have to pay for answering our good faith with hostile acts after letting go the opportunity for improved inter-Korean relations,” Kim Yong Chol said in the statement, released on state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim, who was Pyongyang’s former spymaster and who served as former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart during talks with Washington, said authorities in Seoul weredefying the opportunityto improve relations on the Korean Peninsula by conductingfrantic military exercises regarding our state as the enemy.
    His comments come as Pyongyang stopped responding to a hotline set up between the two Koreas, less than a month after communication was restored following an agreement with Seoul in late July.
      Usually the two Koreas will check in with each other over the hotlines twice a day to ensure smooth relations between the two neighboring nations, but South Korea’s Unification and Defense ministries said Pyongyang did not pick up the phone on Tuesday, según Reuters.
        The US and South Korea began their preliminary training Tuesday, with official computer-simulated drills taking place between August 16 y 26, según los medios locales.
        Speaking on Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he had no specific response to the North Korean statements but emphasized the drills werepurely defensivein nature.
          Price said the USharbors no hostile intenttoward North Korea but remained committed to the security of South Korea.
          Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday warned that the US and South Korea wouldface a more serious security threatfor ignoring repeated warnings against their joint military drills.
          She said peace on the Korean Peninsula would never be achieved unlesswar equipment deployed by the US in South Koreais removed.
            The annual drills — cuales were a cornerstone and recent common feature of the defense relationship between the two militarieshave been scaled back in recent years, incluido en 2018 to help facilitate dialogue on dismantling the North’s nuclear program and in 2019 following the failed summit in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
            Drills in 2020 and this year were also scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, with training focused on computer simulations, según los medios locales.

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