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N. Korea's Back to Back Warning Against S. Korea, U.S. joint drills: Analysis Updated: 2021-08-11 17:16:31 KST

North Korea's warning of "a serious security crisis."
Pyeongyang's intentions and ramifications. Let's take an in-depth look.
Our senior North Korea analyst, Go Myong-hyun, is live in the studio with me.

Dr. Go, thanks for joining us.

Kim Yong-chol's warning today following North Korean leader's sister's warning yesterday.
Now, Kim Yong-chol, of course, used to be Pyeongyang's spymaster who served as former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart during their talks in Washington.
His comments come as the North stopped responding to a hotline set up between the two Koreas, less than a month after communication was restored following an agreement with South Korea in late July.
Was this expected or do you find it unusual that the North would slam the South so much and even cut off the restored communication lines over the start of preliminary exercises?

The annual drills, which were a cornerstone and recent common feature of the defense relationship between South Korea and the U.S., have been scaled back in recent years, including in 2018 to help facilitate dialogue on dismantling the North's nuclear program and in 2019 following the failed summit in Hanoi between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Drills in 2020 and this year were also scaled back due to the Covid pandemic, with training focused on computer simulations. I don't know if any further scale back would even be possible - a step beyond this would be outright cancellation. Does the North really believe Seoul could actually cancel the drills with Washington?

The allies have been carrying out the joint exercises defensive in nature every year for many years.
Is there a reason why the North is particularly acting out this time? Are they trying to build up legitimacy for use of military might - may that be resumption of their coastal artillery drills or could it even be another test of an SLBM or even an ICBM?

South Korea and President Moon Jae-in, again, appears to be sandwiched between North Korea - one that the administration desperately wants to improve ties with in the nine months remaining in office - and its powerful ally, the United States. What would be the best strategy for South Korea at this point?

What are your near to long-term prospects for not only inter-Korean relations, but North Korea, U.S. ties?

Dr. Go Myong-hyun of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies on North Korea's latest series of warnings against the South Korea, U.S. joint military drills. Thank you.
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