North Korea slammed Washington on Wednesday for planning to conduct a joint military exercise with Seoul next month. The allies cancelled the combined air exercise known as Vigilant Ace, along with several other joint drills, last year amid a rapid diplomatic thaw with the North, which considers them a rehearsal for invasion.
However, Pentagon spokesman David Eastburn said this week that the US had “no plans to skip upcoming combined exercises” this year.
A senior North Korean official said on Wednesday that the announcement was equivalent to a “declaration for confrontation” that could jeopardize the diplomatic process, AFP reports.
“The joint military drills will force us to reconsider the important steps that we have already taken,” said Kwon Jong-gun at the North’s Foreign Ministry. “Our patience is reaching an uppermost limit,” Kwon said in a statement carried by KCNA news agency.