North Korea threatens 'consequences' if military drills go ahead

North used chemical weapons US

A North Korea official has threatened the USA yet again, promising "its own mode of counteraction" if the US takes part in joint military exercises with South Korea in the coming months.

North Korea says that if the United States provokes it, the regime will respond in its own way.

"If the USA finally holds joint military exercises while keeping sanctions on the DPRK, the DPRK will counter the United States by its own mode of counteraction and the U.S. will be made to own all responsibilities for the ensuing consequences", North Korea's official KCNA news agency said in its commentary.

The statements come after the USA announced on February 23 that it was imposing its largest package of sanctions on Pyongyang, in an effort to pressure it to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

In the decades-long history of North-US talks, "there had been no case at all where we sat with the US on any precondition, and this will be the case in future, too", the spokesperson was quoted as saying by the North's KCNA news agency. Multiple officials cautioned that a diplomatic solution now remains the administration's focus - and that there are ways to block North Korea's missile program short of all-out war.

North Korea said Saturday it is willing to have talks with the United States, but that it rejects preconditions and Washington's demands that it must first demonstrate its willingness to denuclearize.

In a meeting with North Korean General Kim Yong Chol on Sunday, Moon also urged the North to open dialogue with the United States as soon as possible - to which Kim responded by saying the North was "very willing" to hold talks.

"Whether peace desired by our nation and the rest of the world settles on the Korean Peninsula or a situation that no one desires is developed in the vicious cycle of confrontation depends entirely on the attitude of the USA", the spokesman said, according to KCNA.

The comment comes in response to a remark by U.S. President Donald Trump late last month that he would only want to talk to Pyongyang under the "right conditions".

The possibility of talks between Washington and Pyongyang gained traction after the North stated its willingness for dialogue a few times last month, amid its participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

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