South Korea and the United States will face even greater security threats for going ahead with scheduled joint military drills due to begin this week, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Monday, according to Reuters.
South Korea and the United States will begin preliminary military drills on Tuesday, the Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, despite nuclear-armed North Korea's warning that the exercises would set back progress in improving inter-Korean relations.
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.
"The United States and South Korea will face a more serious security threat by ignoring our repeated warnings to push ahead with the dangerous war exercises," she added.
Kim 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.
Former US President Donald 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.