North Korean state media has accused the United States of plotting to "unleash war" on the country while continuing to negotiate with "a smile on its face."
Rodong Sinmun, the official outlet of the Workers' Party of Korea, cited alleged U.S. troop movements in the region, which it called "extremely provocative and dangerous" — and said they threatened to derail the dialogue between the United States and North Korea, The Washington Post reported.
The U.S. military called the accusation "far fetched."
The rebuke Sunday came two days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing a lack of progress in getting North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons.
The Post noted Trump was not mentioned by name — nor was the cancellation of Pompeo's trip.
Rodong Sinmun cited a South Korean radio broadcast claiming U.S. "special units" had recently flown to the Philippines, arguing this was a drill simulating "infiltration into Pyongyang," the Post reported. It also claimed the USS Michigan nuclear submarine had transported "Green Berets, Delta Force, and other special units" from Okinawa, Japan, to the Jinhae naval base in South Korea in late July or early August.
Col. John Hutcheson, the director of public affairs for U.S. Forces Japan, said he was not sure what drills the piece was referring to.
"U.S. aircraft routinely fly from Japan to the Philippines and other nations around the region for a variety of training and operational reasons, so the notion that any single flight is related to North Korea is a bit far fetched," he wrote in an email, the Post reported.
Cmdr. Clay Doss, public affairs officer at the U.S. Seventh Fleet, told the Post the North Korean report, including the mention of the USS Michigan, is "completely false."
But Rodong Sinmun argued the acts "prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK" in case Washington fails to achieve denuclearization.
That would be a crime that deserves "merciless divine punishment," it said.
"We cannot but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the U.S. as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialogue with a smile on its face," the piece continued, the Post reported.
"The U.S. would be sadly mistaken if it thinks that it can browbeat someone through trite 'gunboat diplomacy' which it used to employ as an almighty weapon in the past and attain its sinister intention."
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