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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid