North Korea Threatens The U.S. With Counterattack

After accusing the U.S. of bringing “dark clouds of war” through “the largest-ever” sanctions during the Olympic Games, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has threatened to “counter” the plans for joint military drills between South Korea and the U.S.

In response, the joint military exercise has already been postponed and has been rescheduled for after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which are held in South Korea and are to end on the 18th of March.

Last year’s Winter Olympics helped ease the tensions between the DPRK and South Korea, as the DPRK sent a delegation of athletes led by Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. In addition, the delay of the joint drill was followed by the DPRK agreeing to the first official talk with the South in about two years.

A statement released by KCNA, the state news agency, came after President Trump maintained that any discussion with the DPRK would proceed “only under the right conditions,” of which would entail a commitment to denuclearization from the DPRK. The statement conceded the DPRK’s willingness to discuss “issues of mutual concern” with the U.S., but added that they would not be accepting the preconditions laid.

According to the KCNA, a North Korean official was quoted saying, “We will neither beg for dialogue nor evade the military option claimed by the US.” The comment reinstated North Korea’s long-standing desire to be treated as an equal in its negotiations with the US. The official added, “We have full capability and will to confront any option favoured by the U.S.”

As per the US Treasury, the sanctions targeting the DPRK’s exports and industries as a whole affect 28 ships, 27 foreign companies, and one individual. These are based largely in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Taiwan. President Trump continued to state that if these sanctions don’t lead to the desired outcome, they will proceed to “phase two”, which, in his words, “may be a very rough thing,” and “may be very, very unfortunate for the world.”

North Korea has expressed their displeasure on the sanctions and released a statement declaring that the blockade would be equivalent to an act of war. China then showed their support on the contention, criticizing that, by targeting Chinese firms, the US risked exacerbating the rift between the DPRK and the US. Last year, South Korean President Moon Ja In also urged the US and the DPRK to act cautiously in order to defuse the potential crisis.

That said, only time will tell if the U.S. and the DPRK will work out their differences or risk pushing the world into World War III.