News / Asia

Pyongyang: 'Unimaginable Calamities' if Seoul Military Drills Proceed

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ceremony of awarding party and state commendations to the exemplary officials, captains and fishermen in fisheries of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at the conference hall of the Central Committee of the Wo
FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ceremony of awarding party and state commendations to the exemplary officials, captains and fishermen in fisheries of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at the conference hall of the Central Committee of the Wo
VOA News
North Korea is demanding South Korea and the United States cancel upcoming annual military drills, saying that the drills, if held, will "fatally destroy" inter-Korean relations.

Pyongyang's state media warned of "unimaginable calamities and disasters" if the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises proceed as scheduled late next month.

South Korea's Defense Ministry dismissed the threats Thursday. Spokesman Kim Min-seok warned Seoul will "mercilessly and decisively punish" Pyongyang in the event of a provocation.

"We will conduct Key Resolve and Foal Eagle Exercise as planned. If North Korea actually commits military aggression at the excuse of what is a normal exercise we conduct as preparation for emergencies, our military will mercilessly and decisively punish them," said Kim.

The annual military drills are a routine source of tension between the two longtime foes. The North views them as preparation to invade, while the South maintains they are defensive in nature.

Last year's drills came at a particularly tense period of inter-Korean relations, after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test. At its worst point, the North was issuing near daily threats of nuclear war against the U.S.-backed South.

Inter-Korean relations had shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, with both sides at least speaking of the need to improve ties. Both sides have also accused the other of ratcheting up tensions.

South Korea is watching the North closely following last month's execution of Jang Song Thaek, the powerful uncle and mentor of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Jang was accused of plotting a coup, raising fears of instability in Pyongyang.

Some analysts have said North Korean leaders may carry out another nuclear or long-range missile test in order to build internal unity. Seoul's Defense Ministry said Thursday it is closely monitoring Pyongyang's military movements, but said there has been "nothing out of the ordinary."

Tensions regularly flare up between the two Koreas, which remain in a technical state of war since the 1953 agreement that ended hostilities between them was only a truce.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs