The North Korean army on Wednesday rejected South Korean claims that its military test over the weekend violated the spirit of the two Koreas’ September military agreement, warning Seoul against “concealed hostility.”
The statement was released Wednesday and carried alongside a similar statement by the country’s foreign ministry in this morning’s edition of ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun.
In comments delivered in response to a question from a journalist from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), an unnamed spokesperson for the DPRK delegation to North-South military talks condemned a statement by Seoul’s defense ministry on Tuesday.
Those comments saw Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo say Seoul was “deeply concerned about North Korea’s launch of multiple projectiles” over the weekend, saying the test ran “counter to the intent of parts of the military agreement.”
The DPRK military spokesperson Wednesday pointed to recent joint drills by the U.S. and South Korea as having violated that agreement, accusing Seoul of “slander.”
“The south Korean military pretend to be ignorant of what they did, but they are slandering our regular drill,” they said.
“We are concerned about the weak nerve of the south Korean military responding abnormally to the regular drill of our army,” the statement continued. “The response vividly shows how the south Korean military are afraid of our army.”
Saying that South Korea had been “astonished” by Saturday’s test — regarded by many experts as the first of its kind from the North since November 2017 — the spokesperson urged Seoul to read the text of September’s military agreement.
“The close examination of the military agreement will make them feel guilty of their provocative acts of perfidy against us and deprives them of the ‘courage’ to take issue with the dialogue partner,” they said.
“And they will be careful in speech,” they continued. “Otherwise, they will be subject to a pelting rain of kicks and blows.”
The statement also saw the North accuse the South Korean military of being “war-thirsty,” arguing that Seoul’s military drills would “invite the hammer blow” from the Korean People’s Army (KPA).
“They should remember that their double-dealing tactics of concealed hostility, to say nothing of the acts of open hostility challenging the historic north-south declarations and military agreement, rouses bitter denunciation and curses of the whole nation.”
The comment comes amid a months-long pause in military talks between the two Koreas following the no-deal second DPRK-U.S. summit in Hanoi, with Pyongyang having not yet responded to Seoul’s March calls for general-level meetings.
Plans for joint remains recovery in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), too, have been postponed.
One expert said Wednesday’s comments appear to be the first North Korean military pronouncement since the beginning of a diplomatic detente in 2018.
“This ‘answer’ is significant in that it was carried by domestic media as well as external outlets,” said Minyoung Lee, an analyst with NK News’s sister site NK Pro.
“It is also important to note that Pyongyang moderated its message,” she continued.
“It issued a low-level military pronouncement not directly attributed to the KPA but in the name of a ‘spokesman for our delegation to the North-South general-level military talks,’ and did not end the pronouncement with a conditional threat of future action.”
Edited by Colin Zwirko
Featured image: KCNA