North Korea warns US against intercepting missile tests

Kim Yo Jong with Kim Jong Un

On Tuesday, North Korea warned that any attempt to shoot down one of its test missiles would be regarded a declaration of war, and blamed rising tensions on a joint military drill between the US and South Korea.

Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said in a statement that Pyongyang would consider it as a “declaration of war” if the U.S. took military action against the North’s strategic weapon tests.

Also, she made a suggestion that the North may launch more missiles into the Pacific. Although North Korea has made suggestions that it may launch further missiles over Japan, the United States and its allies have never shot down one of its ballistic missiles, which is prohibited by the United Nations Security Council.

“The Pacific Ocean does not belong to the dominium of the U.S. or Japan,” Kim said.

According to analysts, if North Korea follows through on its threat to use the Pacific Ocean as a “firing range,” it would enable the isolated, nuclear-armed nation to enhance its technology in addition to demonstrating its commitment to using force.

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The chief of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Press Division said in a separate statement that the U.S. was “aggravating” the situation on Monday by conducting a joint air drill with a B-52 bomber and scheduling field exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

The Unification Ministry of South Korea, which is in charge of ties with the North, responded by blaming Pyongyang’s “reckless nuclear and missile development” for the deteriorating situation.

U.S. and South Korea military drills

In a combined exercise with South Korean fighter planes, the US sent out a B-52 bomber as a show of force against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, according to the South Korean defense ministry.

Starting the next week, the two countries will perform the “Freedom Shield” drills, a series of lengthy military training exercises.

According to the Yonhap news agency, U.S. and South Korean jets conducted swift takeoffs on Tuesday as part of a rehearsal in response to North Korean threats to destroy airfields.

As a result of the 1950–1953 Korean War, which concluded in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and left the two countries technically at war, there are now about 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea.