North Korea Threatens to Down U.S. Planes with U.S. Submarine Anchored in South Korea

North Korea Threatens to Down U.S. Planes with U.S. Submarine Anchored in South Korea

( – On Monday, North Korea threatened to shoot down U.S. Air Force aircraft due to a nuclear-capable submarine docking in South Korea.

The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived in the southern port city of Busan on June 15, according to Seoul and Washington.

This agreement was part of the Washington Declaration, released by both governments during Yoon’s visit to the American capital in April.

The submarine’s presence was a deployment not seen since the 1980s. It appears that it was an American response to growing concern over North Korea’s illegitimate nuclear program in South Korea, which has led to strong public support for Seoul’s independent nuclear weapons development.

Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea’s communist government, demanded in 2022 that his military engages in an “exponential increase of the country’s nuclear arsenal” after five years without conducting a nuclear weapons test.

South Korea’s reaction was one of worry, which led to increased support for developing nuclear weapons.

According to a survey conducted in February by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 71% of South Koreans favored developing their own nuclear arsenal.

Yoon stated in an interview from a month earlier that “the Republic of Korea [South Korea] could deploy tactical nuclear weapons or possess its own nukes.”

“In its condemnation of the arrival of the USS Michigan, the North Korean Defense Ministry omitted any mention of Kim’s threat to significantly increase the number of nuclear weapons at Pyongyang’s disposal in favor of labeling the presence of the ship “the most undisguised nuclear blackmail” and a “grave threat and challenge to the regional and global peace and security.”

Following the statement, the submarine would “incite the worst crisis of nuclear conflict in practice.”

The Ministry continued, in an official statement, to denounce the deployment of the submarine in the area as the most recent in a string of allegedly provocative actions, including allegedly “massively introducing air reconnaissance assets into the Korean peninsula, where there exist [sic] a constant possibility of military conflict and the danger of a nuclear war is growing more serious.”

Besides asserting that all of America’s purported provocations collectively point to a willingness to start a significant military conflict, it did not specifically link the suspected spy planes to its criticism of the deployment of the USS Michigan.

The statement read, “Where huge armed forces and nuclear weapons are standing in confrontation with each other on the Korean peninsula, it is as clear as noonday what danger will be entailed by the enemy side’s spy planes approaching the territorial sky of its belligerent party.”

The North Korean government declared that the incident was “clearly a threat to the sovereignty of the DPRK [North Korea] and a grave provocation plunging the regional situation into an irretrievable phase.”

The lengthy statement said that in retaliation, North Korea would make the United States “pay a dear price.”

“There is no guarantee that such shocking accident as downing of the U.S. Air Force Strategic Reconnaissance Plane will not happen in the East Sea of Korea,” it said in its conclusion.

The South Korean administration rejected any American aircraft reconnaissance missions into North Korea in reaction to the declaration made on Monday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea emphasized in a statement that “flight by U.S. reconnaissance assets around the Korean Peninsula is a normal reconnaissance activity, and North Korea’s claim that its airspace has been violated is not true,” according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

“We strongly call on the North to stop inflaming tensions with these baseless allegations,” he added.

As an invited guest, the South Korean media reported, Yoon will travel this week to attend the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Yoon is anticipated to attend with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, upsetting communist China and North Korea, its closest ally. Yoon said he would talk about the summit’s potential threat from North Korea’s nuclear program in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday.

“The time has come,” according to Yoon, to unequivocally show that the international community is committed to stopping North Korea from developing nuclear weapons more than it is.”

“When it is supported by a strong force and deterrence, peace is never as certain and reliable,” he said.

He continued, “Stronger international sanctions against North Korea have the effect of preventing the advancement of its nuclear and missile capabilities.”

Yoon has adopted a much more aggressive stance toward North Korea than Moon Jae-in, a leftist who frequently traveled to North Korea to engage with Kim Jon Un.

In September 2018, Moon ascended Mount Paektu with Kim and his wife, a volcano revered in Korean folklore.

In 2020, North Korea attacked a joint liaison office in Kaesong that Moon had set up in 2018 to improve dialogue; Moon’s policy did not significantly change Korea’s foreign policy.

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