North Korea strongly condemned the South Korea-U.S. alliance Saturday, accusing their joint defense efforts of being aimed at toppling its communist regime and saying such efforts may also lead to an end of ongoing dialogue between the two Koreas.
“The South Korean government must realize its foul military consultation with the U.S. may be a foolish act that will put out the hard-earned chance of improving the North-South relationship and ruin its own fate,” Rodong Sinmun, a daily newspaper published by the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a signed commentary.
The commentary was largely aimed at criticizing the two-plus-two Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group talks held last week between Seoul and Washington, in which the allies agreed to continue maintaining U.S. defense assets around the Korean Peninsula.
However, it also came one day after the allies confirmed a resumption of their delayed joint military drills in South Korea immediately following the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang from Feb. 9-25.
“The exact date and size of the planned joint exercises cannot be disclosed, but they will be carried out after the close of the Olympics,” Seoul’s defense ministry said Friday.
North Korea agreed to take part in the PyeongChang Olympic Games shortly after Seoul and Washington announced their decision to delay all their joint military exercises until after the quadrennial event.
The North claimed the U.S. did not welcome the ongoing dialogue between the divided Koreas and was blatantly trying to cripple the dialogue.
“The problem is the South Korean government is going against the move toward unification of the nation while being played by U.S. tactics. Now is when South Korean officials must act more rationally than ever,” the newspaper said.
South Korea and the North have held three rounds of talks to discuss the North’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games, the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015.