Pyongyang and Washington quarrel with each other once again
North Korean media blamed the United States for taking “hostile” measures against Pyongyang under the guise of establishing a diplomatic relationship between the two countries. As The International Business Times writes in the article North Korea Warns US Against ‘Hostile’ Measures That Threaten ‘Worst War Crisis’, on Thursday, Uriminjokkiri, the North's external propaganda website, claimed the U.S. continued to further its military strategies against their country by dispatching units to Japan, the Philippines and South Korea as a sign of threat.
"The U.S. is taking grave and hostile actions behind the curtain of the dialogue taking place," the website said, Yonhap News reported. “If the relations between the North and the U.S. worsen again like last year and the Korean Peninsula is facing the worst war crisis, it would be those conspiring for such military plots who should take full responsibility.”
The accusation from the website came days after two separate contradicting statements from President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis regarding the joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, which had been stalled indefinitely following the U.S.-North Korea summit in June.
On Tuesday, Mattis announced that the administration was considering the resumption of the war games. “We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises," he said.
Mattis’ statement startled South Korea, which said it had not held any discussions with the U.S. regarding the drills.
“As of now, the issue has not been discussed between South Korea and the United States,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said during a daily press briefing. “It is an issue that should be discussed and decided by South Korea and the U.S. while reviewing the progress in the denuclearization of North Korea.”
A day after the defense secretary’s announcement, Trump cited his “warm” relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, stating there was “no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games.”
Earlier in August, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled what would have been his fourth visit to North Korea to try and make progress on talks of denuclearization initiated between Washington and Pyongyang in the summit.
“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump tweeted Aug. 24. “In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!” Although no official reason was provided for the cancellation of the trip, two reports from the Washington Post and CNN suggested that an angry letter from North Korean Secretary of State Kim Yong Chol to Pompeo might have had something to do with it. In the letter, the official had allegedly talked about how Kim was unhappy that the U.S. was holding off from signing a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War till Pyongyang agrees to complete denuclearization.
Uriminjokkiri took a threatening tone Thursday, as it added, "We are playing closer attention than ever to covert operations the U.S. is pushing to target us behind the curtain of dialogue and ready to take all necessary countermeasures against them. The U.S. should see how much the time has changed and know who it is dealing with wide-opened eyes. Rather than engaging in a useless military gamble, it should do its part to implement the historic North Korea-U.S. joint statement.”