North Korea has threatened to nullify the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
The North Korean rhetoric appears to be in response to threatened United Nations sanctions that may be put in place following the Feb. 12 North Korean test of a nuclear weapon, DOD officials said.
The North Korean Central News Agency quoted officials in the North saying the threat is because the United States and South Korea are holding annual military exercises.
North Korea “will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” said Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
She said the two exercises – Key Resolve and Foal Eagle – are annual training exercises designed to increase alliance readiness to defend South Korea, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
“These exercises are defensive in nature,” Wilkinson said. “There is nothing provocative, unusual, or threatening about these exercises.”
The North Korean military command said, “When the war exercises turn into their main phase after March 11, the Korean War armistice agreement that has existed in its name only, will come to an end.”
North Korea has also been developing a long-range ICBM. U.S. commanders find the North Korean steps “deeply troubling.”
“We have been involved with the review of our plans and our posture related to North Korea, particularly we’ve been working very hard with Pacific Command and Northern Command regarding our ballistic missile defense posture and our ballistic missile defense approach,” said Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Kehler testified before the House Armed Services Committee today.
The commander of U.S Pacific Command, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, also testified before the committee. Locklear said the new North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, must realize that carrying on this way will be unsuccessful.
“In the end, this is not in the best interest of the people of North Korea, where the average citizen gets about 800 calories a day,” Locklear said. “They spent more money on the missile launch in one day, and they could have fed their entire nation for … one month.”
Meanwhile, U.S. and South Korean forces are monitoring North Korean activities, officials said.
“Obviously, our defensive forces are postured … in case something really crazy were to happen,” Locklear said. “But in the end, we have to … applaud the efforts of the U.N. Security Council as they continue to put pressure on this regime from all sides.”