U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a stern warning to North Korea on Thursday that America is ready to “fight tonight” in response to the dictators condemnation of South Korea’s military drills.
South Korea and the U.S. resumed military springtime drills after a pause on those exercises in February due to COVID related concerns.
Austin spoke out in a press conference on Wednesday, affirming America’s commitment to the “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” as well as the necessity “of maintaining military readiness.”
He described that the eventual goal is to transition the force into a “Combined Forces Command” led by a Republic of Korea. He continued that he believes the “process will strengthen our alliance.”
Current diplomacy regarding North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is locked in a stalemate over sanctions. Experts are undecided on whether the U.S. and its allies should accept a freeze on Korean nuclear activities in return for relaxed sanctions.
Earlier in the week, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister issued warnings to the Biden administration to “refrain from causing a stink,” while condemning the joint action drills that her government sees as a rehearsal for a future invasion.
She warns that if the U.S. wants to avoid war in the “coming four years,” then it must “refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
Experts predict that North Korea may try to improve its leverage with further antagonistic activities such as missile tests. North Koreas economy is in a desperate situation due to COVID related causes as well as a series of natural disasters they faced last summer.
South Korean officials said that managing the North Korean nuclear issue is “a priority of the alliance”, affirming their commitment to the joint military operations with the U.S.