Long-standing military drills between American and South Korean forces had recently been kept on pause for more than a year as officials sought to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus that causes COVID-19. The temporary halt proved beneficial for North Korea, which sees the annual regional exercises as a provocation.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently warned North Korea that American troops were ready to “fight tonight” after the nation’s leadership condemned the resumption of military exercises between Washington and Seoul.
During a joint news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean counterparts, Austin told a panel that the Biden administration and the US military remained committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, among other objectives.
“There is no daylight between us on this point.”
“While meeting all the conditions for this transition will take more time, I’m confident that this process will strengthen our alliance,” the Pentagon chief continued.
Austin’s commentary emerged just as Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, urged the US to avoid “causing a stink” as Washington moved ahead with plans to resume military drills with South Korean forces.
“If [the US] wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” Kim said, according to a statement obtained by Reuters correspondent Josh…