North Korea vows to respond to any U.S. naval blockade

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Dec. 15, 2017 at 9:47 AM
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Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Pyongyang pledged to deal with a possible U.S. plan to place a naval blockade that would prevent ships from leaving or entering North Korea, weeks after the plan was raised as an issue on Dec. 1.

A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry told KCNA on Thursday any blockade would be a "reckless and dangerous measure," and that the move would be met with a response, South Korean news service News 1 reported Friday.

The spokesman claimed the United States will be holding a meeting at the United Nations Security Council on Friday, where it will "try to manipulate North Korea resolutions" and "scheme to bring the state of the Korean peninsula closer to war" by raising the issue of a naval blockade.

North Korea also stated the "Trump faction" is increasing the prospects of nuclear war.

Tensions on the peninsula ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics could be altering plans for the U.S. military in South Korea.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of U.S. naval operations, told Yonhap on Thursday joint exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are to be postponed until after February 2018, when the Winter Games are taking place.

Richardson said the situation must be dealt with flexibly, according to the Yonhap report.

North Korea also verbally attacked the South Korean government on Friday, after Seoul announced plans for unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang.

The sanctions announced on Monday is South Korea's response to North Korea's launch of the Hwasong-15, a long-range missile.

Twelve North Korean officials have been blacklisted as part of sanctions.

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