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DPRK warns US against intercepting missile tests

Updated: 2023-03-08 09:35
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SEOUL — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea warned on Tuesday that it would be a "clear declaration of war" if its missiles were shot down during their test launches over the Pacific Ocean.

The United States and the Republic of Korea have ramped up military cooperation, including joint drills.

"It will be regarded as a clear declaration of war against the DPRK in case such military response as interception takes place against our tests of strategic weapons," Kim Yo-jong, vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"The Pacific Ocean does not belong to the dominium of the US or Japan," she said.

The DPRK is "always on standby to take appropriate, quick and overwhelming action at any time", she said in the statement, which was published by the official Korean Central News Agency.

This month the US and the ROK militaries will hold their largest joint drills in five years.

Ahead of those exercises, named Freedom Shield and scheduled for at least 10 days starting March 13, the allies held air drills this week featuring a nuclear-capable US B-52 heavy bomber.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, DPRK's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of "intentionally" ramping up tensions.

The ministry called the flyover of the B-52 bomber a reckless provocation that pushes the situation on the peninsula "deeper into the bottomless quagmire".

The statement, attributed to the unnamed head of the ministry's foreign news office, said "there is no guarantee that there will be no violent physical conflict" if US-ROK military provocations continue.

Last year, Pyongyang declared itself an "irreversible" nuclear power and fired a record-breaking number of missiles.

Pyongyang has said its missile tests and military drills are countermeasures following US-ROK drills.

Last week, it called on the United Nations to urge a halt to these exercises between Washington and Seoul, and reiterated that its nuclear weapons ensured the balance of power in the region.

Agencies via Xinhua

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