North Korea slams US-South Korea military drills
North Korea has slammed the upcoming US-South Korea joint military drills, saying Washington will be held accountable for “igniting war” on the Korean peninsula.
Some 300,000 troops from South Korea and 15,000 American forces will participate in the annual drills scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Seoul and Washington say the military exercises are defensive in nature but North Korea describes them as rehearsals for an impending war.
On Sunday, Pyongyang condemned the drills in a statement and said the country is ready to respond to any possible aggression from South Korea or the US.
“We have cutting-edge attack methods to beat up the US mainland at anytime and from anywhere. Also we have diligently developed and deployed Juche (self-reliant) weapons in the era of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which enables us to fire strong artilleries,” said the statement read by North Korea’s KRT television anchor.
“If a war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, the US will be held accountable for igniting the war by mobilizing their massive strategic means and war hardware here, regardless of who mounted a preemptive attack,” it added.
On Friday, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un ordered the country’s nuclear arsenal prepared for use at any time and the military to be in “pre-emptive attack” mode over growing threats from enemies.
The order came a day after the UN approved its harshest sanctions crafted by the US against the impoverished nation, marking a further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.
Kim said the situation had become very dangerous following the adoption of the sanctions, which came just days ahead of joint military drills by the US and South Korea.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket last month carrying a satellite. South Korea, other neighbors and Washington denounced the launch as a missile test.
North Korea accuses the US of plotting with its regional allies to topple the government in Pyongyang. The country bills its nuclear capabilities as a deterrent against hostile US policies.
Pyongyang also wants Washington to dissolve its military command in South Korea, where the US has thousands of troops.