The influential sister of North Korea’s leader warned Tuesday that her country is ready to take “quick, overwhelming action” against the United States and South Korea, a day after the U.S. flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber in a demonstration of strength against the North.
The U.S.-South Korean training on Monday involving the B-52 bomber over the Korean Peninsula was the latest in a series of drills between the allies in recent months. Their militaries also are preparing to revive their largest field exercises this month.
Kim Yo Jong didn’t describe any planned actions in her statement, but North Korea has often test-launched missiles in response to U.S.-South Korean military drills because it views them as an invasion rehearsal.
“We keep our eye on the restless military moves by the U.S. forces and the South Korean puppet military and are always on standby to take appropriate, quick and overwhelming action at any time according to our judgment,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement carried by state media.
“The demonstrative military moves and all sorts of rhetoric by the U.S. and South Korea, which go so extremely frantic as not to be overlooked, undoubtedly provide (North Korea) with conditions for being forced to do something to cope with them,” she said.
Hours after Kim’s statement, the General Staff of North Korea’s Korean People’s Army said it put its front-line artillery units on alert and heightened surveillance after it detected a live-fire artillery drill by “the enemy” in the South Korean border town of Paju on Tuesday morning.
The General Staff said about 30 rounds were fired during the South Korean exercise, which it described as a “very grave military provocation” that aggravated tensions, and urged its rival to immediately stop such activities near the border.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff described the North Korean claim as absurd and denied that the South’s military had fired any artillery at the shooting range the North was referring to.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said after Monday’s training that the B-52’s deployment demonstrated the allies’ capability to deter North Korean aggression. The U.S. deployed B-1B bombers to the peninsula a few times earlier this year. Last month, the U.S. and South Korea also held a simulation in Washington aimed at sharpening their response to North Korean nuclear threats.