(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS more info throughout with KCNA's English statement)
SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Wednesday slammed South Korea and the United States again for going ahead with joint military exercises, warning it will make the allies feel a serious security crisis every minute.
Kim Yong-chol, head of the North's United Front Department handling inter-Korean affairs, made the remarks in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, saying the South Korean authorities have defied the opportunity to make a turn in relations.
The denouncement comes just a day after the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un criticized Seoul and Washington as they kicked off a preliminary training Tuesday ahead of next week's main exercise.
"We will make them realize by the minute what a dangerous choice they made and what a serious security crisis they will face because of their wrong choice," he said.
"They must be made to clearly understand how dearly they have to pay for answering our good faith with hostile acts after letting the opportunity go for improved inter-Korean relations," he added.
Kim denounced South Korea for answering the North's "good faith" with "hostile acts, saying that Seoul's "much-touted" push for inter-Korean peace as "just a wordplay." He also said that the North has no choice but to "keep going on what we should," though he did not elaborate on what it will be.
On Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of leader Kim, issued a strong-worded statement, slamming South Korea and the U.S. for going ahead with their joint military drill despite her earlier warning that the maneuvers will cloud inter-Korean relations.
She said that the country will further strengthen the country's "deterrent of absolute capacity" to cope with military threats.
In response to Tuesday's statement, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington harbors no hostile intent toward North Korea and insisted that the joint military drills are purely defensive in nature.
Early on Tuesday, North Korea answered daily phone calls via liaison and military hotlines from South Korea, hours after Kim Yo-jong's statement. It, however, did not answer afternoon phone calls in apparent protest against the military exercise.
The inter-Korean communication lines were restored late last month over a year after the North unilaterally severed them in anger over South Korean activists sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border in June 2020.
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