North Korea rips South’s drills with US

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North Korea on Tuesday took new measures in displaying its discontent with South Korea’s drills with the United States by failing to go through with routine calls on inter-Korean hotlines.

The move comes after Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, slammed the annual military drills scheduled between the U.S. and South Korea earlier this month.

“I view this as an undesirable prelude which seriously undermines the will of the top leaders of the North and the South wishing to see a step taken toward restoring mutual trust and which further beclouds the way ahead of the North-South relations,” she said at the time.

Preliminary training for the drills began Tuesday, while computer-simulated exercises are set to be held next week, Reuters reported. 

North and South Korea have routinely checked in over the hotlines managed by the unification ministry and South Korea’s military two times a day, according to Reuters. While morning calls between the two went as usual, the North reportedly did not answer calls made in the afternoon.

The news outlet noted that the strain caused by the drills could affect South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to reopen a joint liaison office and restore relations with Pyongyang.

“Though [Kim] mentioned ‘perfidious behaviour,’ her tone seemed relatively restrained as she didn’t threaten specific actions they might take, unlike in the past,” a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said.

Kim previously slammed the U.S.’s military actions as hypocritical to promoting peace.

Washington and Seoul have said that the drills are defensive.

Tags hotline Kim Jong Un military drills North Korea South Korea

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