SEOUL, Oct. 14 (UPI) — North Korea slammed Britain on Friday for a planned deployment of Typhoon fighter jets to the Korean peninsula.
A Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman told state-controlled news agency KCNA the British decision to participate in a joint U.S.-South Korea military exercise is a “serious challenge to peace and security.”
North Korea likened the plan to “playing with fire” at a time when “the United States and South Korean puppets are constantly engaging in various military exercises, and the Korean peninsula is a tinderbox on edge.”
The joint exercises known as Invincible Shield are to be held Nov. 4-10 and are to include a combined aerial drill at Osan Air Base, about 40 miles from Seoul.
According to a South Korean spokesman in September, the exercise, the first of its kind that includes British aircraft, is to improve allied capabilities in targeting North Korea’s key military and leadership facilities, in the case of a North Korea attack.
Britain was planning to send four Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets, Voyager tanker aircraft and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
On Friday the Pyongyang spokesman also denounced the United States and South Korea for engaging in a “new war provocation” and called the exercises a hostile act.
North Korea’s continued condemnations of military exercises have not dissuaded the U.S. military’s policy of deterrence in South Korea.
Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, told South Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo the navy stands ready to respond immediately to North Korea provocations and U.S. military investment and support in the defense of the Korean peninsula is to be maintained.