Aug. 11 (UPI) — A North Korean official threatened Sunday to exclude South Korea from future negotiations with the United States over ongoing joint military drills between Seoul and Washington, D.C.
Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the North Korean foreign ministry’s department of American affairs warned that future discussions would be held “strictly between DPRK and the U.S., not between the north and the south” if the exercises continue.
“Given that the military exercise clearly puts us as an enemy in its concept, they should think that an inter-Korean contact itself will be difficult to be made unless they put an end to such a military exercise or before they make a plausible excuse or an explanation in a sincere manner for conducting the military exercise,” he said.
Kwon accused South Korea of attempting to disguise the intentions of the military exercises by changing their name from “Alliance 19-2” to “South Korea-U.S. Combined Command Post Exercise in second half.”
“It is a miscalculation if they think that the very change of the name of the exercise can alter its aggressive nature or that we would make it pass of quietly,” he said.
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had criticized the military exercises in a three-page letter he received last week.
“He stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S. South Korea joint exercises are over,” Trump said. “It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises.”
Kwon also noted that Trump had diminished concerns about missile tests that North Korea had conducted last week in protest to the military drills set to begin on Sunday.
“With regard to our test for developing the conventional weapons, even the U.S. president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do,” he said.
Also Sunday, North Korea said the missiles tested the day before were a new type of projectile and were guided by Kim, according to state-run KCNA.
The report noted that new weapon was developed to suit the terrain of North Korea.