North Korea's latest criticism of South Korea's military acquisition as an "extremely risky action which will trigger our reaction" comes as inter-Korean relations have stalled. Animosities have gradually eased since previous year when Pyongyang and Washington launched nuclear negotiations, but Seoul has been moving ahead with its already-approved F-35 procurement.
An unidentified policy research director at the ministry's Institutes for American Studies said Seoul's purchase of the USA jets was meant to "please the United States, their master, like eating mustard in tears", though Seoul knows well the project is an "extremely risky action" that will increase military tensions.
The statement said that two more F-35As were due to be delivered to South Korea from the United States in mid-July. Meeting with the North Korean head-of-state, something which would have been blasphemy with any other president, was now a regular part of doing business.
The country plans to deploy 40 of the American jets by the end of 2021, with around a quarter of those expected to be operational this year. For the first time, Article 100 states that Kim Jong Un's official position-chairman of the State Affairs Commission-is not only "supreme leader" but also "represents the nation", a function once ascribed to the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.
The latest statement didn't criticize the USA directly.
Tensions were raised in May when North Korea fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017, during a standstill in its talks with Washington over denuclearisation. -North Korea summit in Vietnam and was most recently seen seated just four spots away from her brother at a ceremony Monday marking the death of their grandfather and North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung. His warm meetings with Trump may be paying off too as the US appeared to shift away from its unconditional denuclearization-first stance on what it would take to lift sanctions against North Korea and toward a step-by-step process.
Outside of Trump's personal relationship with Kim Jong-un, however, the US strategy has remained largely static.
Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Thursday's statement suggests that North Korea may perform an anti-air missile test, but not a ballistic one that is banned by U.N. Security Council resolutions.