North Korea has threatened to scrap the ceasefire which ended the 1950-53 Korean War if the South and US continue with an ongoing military exercises.
The North Korean People’s Army Supreme Command spokesman issued the statement Tuesday, according to the state KCNA news agency. Pyongyang warned it will cancel the Korean War ceasefire agreement on March 11 if the drills are not halted.
The announcement from Pyongyang comes as South Korean and US troops launched their annual joint military drills on Friday. Some 10,000 US troops and 200,000 South Korean soldiers are currently taking part in the exercises.
North Korea had previously warned the US commander in South Korea of “miserable destruction” if the US military went ahead with the two-month-long exercise, Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
The North Korea and South Korea are still technically at war after the civil conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
Pyongyang’s threat follows reports that Washington and Beijing have drafted a series of sanctions to be circulated among UN Security Council members in the wake of North Korea’s third nuclear test last month. Details of the tentative sanctions remained murky, with UN diplomats telling Reuters on condition of anonymity they hoped to receive the draft resolution at Tuesday’s Security Council session.
The United States and other members of the international community have viewed North Korea’s third nuclear test as putting the isolated state one step closer towards developing a nuclear weapon which can target America.
North Korea has framed its nuclear weapon’s program as a counter to US aggression which dates back to the 1950s war.
In February, a source close to the highest levels of government in Pyongyang told Reuters that “a fourth and fifth nuclear test and a rocket launch could be conducted soon, possibly this year.” The source continued that the fourth test would be much larger than the third, with an equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT.