Kim Jong Un’s Warning for Trump

With a deadline for restarting nuclear talks looming, North Korea ups the ante on the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 19, 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 19, 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 19, 2018. Pyongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

Earlier this year, as talks between North Korea and the United States broke down, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set a deadline—the end of 2019—for getting thing back on track. With that deadline nearing, and with the Trump administration set to continue joint air drills with South Korea, Kim issued a warning. “The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence,” an official statement from the regime read. Noting the “betrayal” of the joint drills, the regime threatened to escalate tensions.

A transcript of the statement, attributed to a North Korean spokesman, is below. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

We explicitly defined the joint military drill being planned by the U.S. and South Korea as a main factor of screwing up tensions of the Korean Peninsula and the region out of control, and have expressed deep concern over it and repeatedly warned them to stop it.

Earlier this year, as talks between North Korea and the United States broke down, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set a deadline—the end of 2019—for getting thing back on track. With that deadline nearing, and with the Trump administration set to continue joint air drills with South Korea, Kim issued a warning. “The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence,” an official statement from the regime read. Noting the “betrayal” of the joint drills, the regime threatened to escalate tensions.

A transcript of the statement, attributed to a North Korean spokesman, is below. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

We explicitly defined the joint military drill being planned by the U.S. and South Korea as a main factor of screwing up tensions of the Korean Peninsula and the region out of control, and have expressed deep concern over it and repeatedly warned them to stop it.

Despite our repeated warnings, the U.S. and the South Korean side decided to push ahead with the military drill hostile to the DPRK at the most sensitive time. This has further enraged our people, making it hard for them to keep the patience they have so far exercised.

The U.S. Defense Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserting that they would adjust the scale of the projected U.S.-South Korean joint air drill and not stage it in consideration of North Korea’s anger, openly said now is just the time to launch a joint drill of such type and it is aimed to gird itself for going into a war even tonight.

The U.S. is not accepting with due consideration the year-end time limit that we set out of great patience and magnanimity.

Such moves of the U.S. constitute an undisguised breach of the June 12 DPRK-U.S. joint statement, adopted on the basis of mutual trust, and an open denial of the Singapore agreement [the statement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in 2018 that kicked off high-level negotiations], which evoked great sensation worldwide.

We have so far tried hard to recognize the U.S. as our dialogue partner, halted different actions that the U.S. was concerned about, and have taken all possible confidence-building measures, true to its commitment to stop military actions irritating and antagonizing the dialogue partner during the goodwill dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. …

We, without being given anything, gave things the U.S. president can brag about, but the U.S. side has not yet taken any corresponding step. Now, betrayal is only what we feel from the U.S. side.

The U.S. persists in the trite and unreasonable mode after overturning even the official stand of its president to handle the “nuclear issue of North Korea” [through] a new calculation method, raising higher the obstacles to the improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations and the end of the hostile relations.

This year alone, it staged Key Resolve and Foal Eagle with changed codename Alliance 19 in March and Ulji Freedom Guardian, with [the] changed codename “drill for examining wartime operation control transfer,” in August. Whenever it was given opportunities, it waged a series of dangerous, hostile military acts in a disguised mode, namely special operation drills.

Such acts of perfidy of reciprocating the good faith with evil have already put the DPRK-U.S. relations on the verge of a breakdown. Still, it is mulling about combined aerial drills targeting the DPRK, the dialogue partner, under such situation only to further aggravate the situation. Our official stand is that we can no longer remain an onlooker to such a reckless act of the U.S.

At present, when one party backpedals on its commitments and unilaterally takes hostile steps, there is neither reason nor any excuse for the other party to keep itself bound to its commitments. What’s more, there is no sufficient time left.

Now that the physical movement of threatening our sovereignty and the security environment is clearly seen, it is the exercise of the full-fledged self-defensive right of a sovereign state to take countermeasures to contain it.

It is our intention and will to answer dialogue with dialogue and recourse to force in kind.

To look back on the past hours, which we let them pass with patience, we no longer feel the need to exercise any more patience.

The U.S. has to ponder over what it can do during the short last hours left.

The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence at a sensitive time.

The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence at a sensitive time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula could go back to the starting point due to the joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, the biggest factor of the repeating vicious circle of the DPRK-U.S. relations.

The U.S. will have to meditate on what influence the “new way” we can be compelled to take will have on the “future of the U.S.”

It will face greater threat and be forced to admit its failure, being put into trouble before long if it doesn’t do anything to change the trend of the present situation.

This transcript is taken from KCNA Watch, which aggregates stories from North Korean state media.

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