U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper implied the possibility to resume the large-scale joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. in relation to the “new strategic weapon” mentioned by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This is the first time that the U.S. Defense Secretary mentioned the possibility to resume the joint military drills, which have been downsized and suspended to promote denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.
To a question asking when the military exercises with South Korea will be resumed with regards to North Korea’s long-range missile development during an interview with MSNBC on Thursday (local time), Secretary Esper answered, “It is something we will take a look at depending on Kim Jong Un’s next move,” he also emphasized in an interview with Fox News earlier that day. “I am confident in the readiness of our forces to deter North Korean bad behavior. We remain, from a military perspective, ready to fight tonight as need be.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley also supported Esper’s statement by adding that the army, navy and air forces all maintain a high level of readiness. To a question asking if any measure has been taken to raise a defense level for the U.S., he said the U.S. military already has enough defensive capabilities to protect the country.
North Korea showed strong reactions to these comments. “Military offensive is an important guarantee for the victory of the ‘frontal breakthrough,’” the Rodong Sinmun reported on Friday. “Actions threatening the dignity and existence of North Korea should be handled with an immediate and powerful blow.” It is a threat to immediately engage in forceful actions for the victory of the “frontal breakthrough” emphasized by Kim Jong Un in his message at the turn of the New Year in the case that the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises are resumed.
email@example.com · firstname.lastname@example.org