Ahead of tonight's missile launch across Japan, North Korea warned that The UK “faces a miserable end” should it decide to join the joint military exercises being conducted by the US and South Korea that began last week, according to local media reports cited by Russia Today.
The annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, which have been conducted every year since the Korean War ended in an uneasy ceasefire, involve nearly 20,000 troops and have long provoked the ire of North Korea’s leaders.
In a statement, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency denounced Washington and Seoul as “warmongers” and said the drills are proof of their intention to invade the North. It also branded its enemies as “war maniacs” and “dull immature infants.”
“The reality vividly shows that the US ambition for stifling the DPRK [North Korea] remains unchanged no matter how much water may flow under the bridge and the puppet group’s ambition for invading the North remains unchanged,” it said.
“We solemnly warn not only the US and puppet group, but also satellites, including the UK and Australia, which are taking advantage of the present war maneuvers against the north, that they would face a miserable end if they join in play with fire by tiger moths of war.”
For its part, the UK hasn’t said anything about taking part in the drills.
KCNA dismissed South Korea’s claim that the annual exercises are meant to be defensive, saying “formations of strategic bombers loaded with nuclear bombs are always ready for sorties.”
Meanwhile, an editorial in North Korea’s Sinmun newspaper said the joint military exercise is “the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won’t evolve into actual fighting.”
It added that the exercises were tantamount to “pouring gasoline on fire and worsening the state of the [Korean] peninsula.”
The UK could formally refuse a call to help the US fight a war against North Korea as long as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn’t strike the US, according to RT.
“Although Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an attack on one NATO member is an act of aggression against the entire military alliance, the application of this provision is limited only to attacks on member states’ territories in North America, Europe and the Atlantic.”
If Kim’s warheads were to strike US military bases in the Pacific, the US could ask for Britain’s assistance, but would be unable to compel the UK and other NATO allies to join in the fight against the North.
Responding to the earlier missile launch, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson said he is "outrgaed" by the "reckless provocation" of North Korea's latest missile launch.