The Koreas | Security | East Asia

North Korean Military Criticizes South Korea for ‘Reckless’ Air Force, Navy Exercises

The statement charged Seoul for seeking a “deliberate pursuit of confrontation.”

Ankit Panda
North Korean Military Criticizes South Korea for ‘Reckless’ Air Force, Navy Exercises
Credit: Photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released

On Friday, a spokesperson for the North Korean military condemned recent military activities by South Korea. According to the statement, which appeared in the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s external facing news agency, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces condemned joint exercises by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) in the West Sea.

“Such reckless move of the military warmongers of the south side is the height of the military confrontation which would leave tongue-tied even their master, who responded to every military drill staged by us with words like halt and regretful, saying it does not help the efforts to defuse tension on the Korean peninsula,” the statement said, adding that South Korea was undertaking a “deliberate pursuit of confrontation.”

“Everything is now going back to the starting point before the north-south summit meeting in 2018,” the statement added. Nearly three weeks ago, the two sides marked the two year anniversary of the history April 21, 2018, Panmunjom Summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the first meeting of its kind in 11 years.

Last year, in September, Moon and Kim met for a second meeting and presided over the signing of a historic inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement.

The first article of the inter-Korean CMA notes that “South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea that are the source of military tension and conflict.”

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The text of the agreement adds that the two Koreas would “have consultations on matters including large-scale military exercises and military buildup aimed at each other, various forms of blockade, interdiction and obstruction of navigation as well as reconnaissance activities against each other.”

The South Korean government has mostly described the implementation of that agreement as successful, but did hold North Korea accountable for a set of artillery drills last November that it said represented a violation of the agreement.

The latest North Korean statement comes days after an incident at the Demilitarized Zone where North Korean troops fired on a South Korean guard post. The incident did not result in any injuries, but appeared to raise questions about the extent to which it was intentional. North Korea has not replied to inquiries by United Nations Command at the DMZ; a separate report from North Korea news site Daily NK said that the incident was unintentional and that North Korea had started an internal investigation into the cause of the firing.