'Enemies remain enemies': N Korea hits out at South, lauds China

North lashed out at neighbour for holding military exercises, as Kim Jong Un sent message of praise to Xi Jinping.

    A wire fence close to the border between the two Koreas decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the  peninsula [Lee Jin-man/AP Photo]
    A wire fence close to the border between the two Koreas decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the peninsula [Lee Jin-man/AP Photo]

    North Korea lashed out at South Korea over recent military exercises, as leader Kim Jong Un sent a personal message to China's Xi Jinping to congratulate him on that country's success in controlling the coronavirus, state media reported on Friday.

    A North Korean military representative said on Friday that recent South Korean military drills were a grave provocation that demanded a reaction, according to a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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    "The recent drill served as an opportunity which awakened us once again to the obvious fact that the enemies remain enemies all the time," the statement said.

    North Korea cited a military exercise by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) Air Combat Command on Wednesday and said the drills violated inter-Korean agreements aimed at reducing military tensions.

    "Everything is now going back to the starting point before the north-south summit meeting in 2018," the statement said.

    'Firmly consolidated'

    On Sunday, South Korea said North Korean troops fired multiple shots towards a South Korean guard post at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates the two countries.

    South Korean troops responded by firing warning shots, but no casualties were reported.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the shots fired by North Korea were likely "accidental".

    In a separate report, KCNA said Kim had sent a verbal message to the Chinese president about the coronavirus.

    "Kim Jong Un in his message extended his warm greetings to Xi Jinping and congratulated him, highly appreciating that he is seizing a chance of victory in the war against the unprecedented epidemic," said KCNA.

    Kim wished Xi good health and the KCNA report said the relations between Pyongyang and Beijing were "firmly consolidated".

    North Korea has said it has no cases of the coronavirus, but previously reinforced border checks and anti-epidemic measures.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency