Kim Yong Chol, Chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, made public the following statement on Thursday:
I took note of the remark made by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on November 13 that he would adjust the U.S.-south Korea joint military drill for the progress of the DPRK-U.S. negotiations.
As the remark of the U.S. Secretary of Defense was made just after the announcement of the statement of the spokesperson for the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, I would like to understand it as the U.S. intention to drop out of the joint military drill or completely stop it.
I don’t think he made the decision after consulting with the south Korean authorities in advance.
Because no one in the south Korean political circles can dare to make such a wise decision.
I would like to believe that the remark of the U.S. Secretary of Defense reflected the intention of President Trump, and appreciate it as part of positive efforts of the U.S. side to maintain the momentum of the DPRK-U.S. negotiations.
However, if this ends up with our naive interpretation and the hostile provocation is committed eventually to incite us, we will be compelled to react with shocking punishment that would be difficult for the U.S. to cope with.