The US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, announced plans to increase the deployment of advanced military assets, including fighter jets and aircraft carriers, to the Korean Peninsula as part of joint training exercises with South Korea.
North Korea Reacts to US Military Expansion
The statement from North Korea's Foreign Ministry comes in response to the US Defense Secretary's announcement. It claims that the expansion of military exercises by the US and South Korea is pushing tensions to a critical level. The statement claims that expanding the exercises threatens to turn the Korean Peninsula into a "huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone."
South Korea's Response to North Korea's Statement
Jeon Ha Gyu, a South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesperson, had no immediate comment on North Korea's statement. However, he stated that the latest aerial drills aimed to demonstrate the credibility of the US "extended deterrence" and would involve a commitment to use the full range of military capabilities, including nuclear ones, to defend South Korea.
North Korea to Retaliate if US Continues Military Expansion
The North Korean spokesperson stated that the country would retaliate with the toughest reaction if the US continued to introduce strategic assets into the Korean Peninsula. The country's leader, Kim Jong Un, has recently called for an increase in nuclear weapons and the developing of more powerful long-range missiles.
US and South Korea Pledge to Expand Military Drills
In a news conference, Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup pledged to expand their combined military exercises and continue a "timely and coordinated" deployment of US strategic assets to the region. The US and South Korea have also strengthened their security cooperation with Japan.
Experts Predict Rising Tensions
Experts predict that tensions between North Korea and the US may further rise in the coming months as Kim Jong Un doubles down on his nuclear ambitions. Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea have been derailed since 2019. North Korea stated it isn't interested in any contact or dialogue with the US as long as it maintains its "hostile policy."