On Thursday, North Korea claimed it would develop and test unspecified “special armaments” to destroy US F-35 fighter jets if South Korea continues to deploy them.
In a statement released by state news agency KCNA, an unidentified policy research director at the Institute for American Studies of North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called South Korean authorities “impudent and pitiful” for “talking loudly about reconciliation and cooperation between the north and the south” while still purchasing US weapons.
“We, on our part, have no other choice but to develop and test the special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in South Korea,” the statement adds, also noting that South Korea’s purchase of the weapons is an “extremely dangerous action which will trigger our reaction.”
South Korea received the first two of its F-35A fighter jets from American technologies company Lockheed Martin in March, with eight more expected to be delivered by the end of the year, and a total of 40 on order.
The rest of the $85 million apiece planes are expected to be delivered by 2021. Before deliveries began, South Korean pilots spent months training on six F-35A aircraft at an airbase in Arizona, Sputnik reported.
“The South Korean authorities had better come to their senses before it is too late, shattering the preposterous illusions that an opportunity would come for improved inter-Korean relations if they follow in the footsteps of the United States,” the North Korean statement continued.
Earlier this year, hopes for achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula dwindled after much-anticipated talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, concluded without a deal.
Last month, then US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stressed that the US would not be reducing the extent of its military exercises with South Korea, noting that it was instead building up its capability.