WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) — The U.S. Defense Department said Monday North Korean threats in response to a joint decision to deploy THAAD justify the policy.
Defense Department spokesman Gary Ross told reporters North Korea continues to engage in provocations despite condemnations from the international community, South Korean newspaper Herald Business reported.
It was North Korea’s policy of developing ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that prompted the U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy the U.S. anti-missile defense system, Ross said.
North Korea’s response confirms the decision to deploy THAAD was the right choice, the Defense Department spokesman added.
Pyongyang had recently issued a statement regarding THAAD, vowing to respond physically to its deployment.
“We once again warn the enemies that it is the steadfast will of the Korean People’s Army to make merciless retaliatory strikes to reduce South Korea to a sea of flames and debris once an order is issued,” read the statement from Pyongyang’s KCNA.
North Korea’s general staff department’s military artillery bureau had also said military strikes would be delivered from the moment THAAD is placed in the South.
Relations between Washington and Pyongyang are at an all-time low, and in a time of increased North Korean provocations Congress may be seeking to plan a ban on all forms of North Korean assistance, South Korean news service Newsis reported.
The 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 5293, which is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture, stated none of the funds made available through the bill could be used to assist North Korea’s regime.
But the 2017 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, to be discussed in Congress, states funds should be allocated toward supporting international broadcasting operations into North Korea and to assist North Korean refugees.