North Korea says only the “final choice” remains

Posted on : 2014-07-22 12:07 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Pyongyang increasing pressure for either dialogue or tension, while criticizing “some spineless countries”
 head of North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces
head of North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces

By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter and Park Byong-su, senior staff writer

Under criticism from South Korea and the US for its recent missile launches and artillery drills, North Korea issued warnings on July 20 that only “the final choice” remains. Earlier, North Korea had promised to send a large group of athletes and cheerleaders to the Incheon Asian Games. As time goes by, North Korea is putting more and more pressure on the US and South Korea to choose whether they want tension or dialogue.

On Monday, North Korea released a statement in the name of the spokesperson of the policy bureau of the National Defense Commission. “Military activity such as launching our tactical missiles or carrying out artillery drills is legitimate military activity, and it is a legal exercise of our right to autonomy. The US and South Korea are manipulating the UN Security Council (UNSC), which lost its objectivity long ago, in their continuing efforts to mislead the public,” the statement said.

The remarks are understood to be a rebuttal to a statement made to the press on July 17 by the UNSC president criticizing North Korea’s short-range missile launches. South Korea, the US, and Japan were instrumental in the release of the statement.

North Korea even referred to the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010. “We are not bluffing when we say that our own style of harsh retribution - the likes of which has never been seen - will be unleashed if the hostile behavior and highway robbery of the authorities in the US and South Korea continue,” the North said.

While it is unlikely that the North will follow through on its threats of “retribution,” with a series of military exercises to which North Korea is opposed scheduled for July and August, inter-Korean tensions seem likely to rise.

Search and rescue exercises between South Korea, the US, and Japan - involving American nuclear-powered carrier USS George Washington - will began on July 21 and last for two days. In addition, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint exercises between US and ROK forces are coming up at the end of August.

“We have already done everything that we could do for inter-Korean relations, for reunification of the nation and for its peace and prosperity, through the ’important proposal‘ and the open letter in January, the ‘special proposal’ in June, and the statement from the government of the republic in July. Now, all that is left is the final choice,” the statement said.

“While making clear that it holds the initiative in its relations with Seoul and has a pretext for its actions, Pyongyang is increasing the chances of a provocation against the South,” said Chang Yong-seok, senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.

North Korea also hinted at its displeasure with China in the statement. “Some spineless countries are also blindly following the foul-smelling rear end of the US and vainly attempting to embrace Park Geun-hye,” the statement said. The expression “some spineless countries” appears to be an expression aimed at China and Russia, which have permanent seats on the UNSC.


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