U.S. military drills do not justify N. Korean provocations: State Dept.

October 10, 2022

 The United States’ defensive actions such as joint military drills and naval exercises with South Korea do not justify North Korea’s missile provocations, a state department spokesperson said Monday.

The remark comes after North Korea argued its missile tests are “self-defense” actions against U.S. threats.

“We reject the notion that our defensive actions to respond to the DPRK threats justifies their escalatory and unlawful behavior,” the department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We also condemn the DPRK’s continued testing of ballistic missiles, which is unlawful and destabilizing to the region and to the international community,” the official added, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

On Saturday, the North’s National Aviation Administration said the country’s missile tests are a “regular and planned self-defensive step” against what it called “U.S. direct military threats.”

Pyongyang staged seven rounds of missile tests in just two weeks as South Korea and the U.S. held their annual joint military drills that began late last month.

Seoul has similarly rejected the North’s claim that its missile tests are self-defense actions, calling them “unlawful provocations.”

The state department spokesperson also urged the North to return to dialogue.

“We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on the DPRK to engage in dialogue. Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad,” the spokesperson said.

North Korea has avoided denuclearization talks since late 2019.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was earlier quoted as saying last week that his country has “no content for dialogue with the enemies.”