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North Korea on Tuesday warned South Korea and the United States and said they are risking a “huge security crisis” by choosing to escalate tensions, Reuters reported, citing a senior North Korean official.

Kim Yong Chol, a general and politician who played a leading role during historic summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump, criticized South Korea and the United States for responding to Pyongyang’s goodwill with what he called “hostile acts”.

The warning came a day after the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that South Korea and the United States will face even greater security threats for going ahead with scheduled joint military drills.

The drills are an "unwelcome, self-destructive action" that threaten the North Korean people and raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

She accused South Korea of "treacherous treatment" for going ahead with the drills shortly after a hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul was reconnected in a bid to ease tensions.

The joint drills between the US and South Korea have been scaled back in recent years to facilitate talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs in return for US sanctions relief.

Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The new Biden administration reached out to North Korea but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."

In June, Kim said that North Korea should prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States.