Joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea are on the horizon, which means it is time for North Korea’s perennial saber-rattling. In this case, as the Associated Press reports, the erratic Communist regime is also furious that leader Kim Jong-un was added to a list of sanctioned individuals by the United States in early July.
Han Song Ryol, the director-general of U.S. affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said that the Obama administration effectively declared war by leveling personal sanctions at Kim.
“The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of the DPRK in order to get rid of its unfavorable position during the political and military showdown with the DPRK,” Han declared.
“The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown. We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war,” he added.
North Korea has been sanctioned repeatedly for its nuclear and long-range missile programs, but this is the first time Kim himself was put on a sanctions list. The action was taken in response to U.N. reports of human rights abuses, including “a network of political prisons and harsh treatment of any kind of political dissent in the authoritarian state.”
Pyongyang denies these allegations, claiming they are lies fabricated by defectors. Also, the North Koreans cited “such things as police shootings of black Americans and poverty in even the richest democracies,” and the “questionable human-rights records” of some U.S. allies, to claim the West has no moral right to criticize its practices.
As for North Korea’s illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles, Han thundered that the U.S. was conducting “military blackmail” against his country.
“It is not us, it is the United States that first developed nuclear weapons, who first deployed them and who first used them against humankind. And on the issue of missiles and rockets, which are to deliver nuclear warheads and conventional weapons warheads, it is none other than the United States who first developed it and who first used it,” he said.
Han cited next month’s U.S.-South Korean war games as the flashpoint for a possible “vicious” showdown. North Korea routinely accuses the U.S. of using such exercises as training, and possibly cover, for a regime-change operation against Pyongyang.
Han essentially threatened war if the war games proceed as planned.
“By doing these kinds of vicious and hostile acts toward the DPRK, the U.S. has already declared war against the DPRK. So it is our self-defensive right and justifiable action to respond in a very hard way… If the United States forces those kinds of large-scale exercises in August, then the situation caused by that will be the responsibility of the United States,” he said.
To back up its talk of assuming a “war footing,” North Korea cut its last official communications line with Washington two weeks ago.