North Korea slams joint US-South Korea military drills
North Korea slams joint US-South Korea military drills
US, South Korea launch joint military drills despite N Korea threats
22 August, 2017, 09:44
The 11-day exercise will be the first major exercise since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month that appeared to bring much of the USA within range.
That sparked a grim warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North.
North Korea's official media sharply criticised South Korea and the United States for pressing ahead with joint military exercises next week amid heightened tensions on the peninsula.
North Korea then threatened to fire a salvo of missiles towards the United States territory of Guam - a plan that leader Kim Jong-un last week delayed, but warned could go ahead depending on Washington's next move.
"In the case of North Korea, we can't see everything in real time but the military deduces the locations of North Korean troops, including the leadership during the exercise".
The warning - printed in an official North Korean government newspaper - came just hours before the US and South Korea were slated today to start the so-called "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" military exercises, a 10-day annual military drill on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea unveils two of what is believed to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.
China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills and so has Russian Federation.
"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so". He also cautioned North Korea to "not exaggerate our efforts to keep peace" nor to use the exercises as an excuse to engage in provocations.
North Korea routinely issues such warlike rhetoric or conducts weapons tests to respond to the U.S.
"We're at a stage of tensions that we have not seen for years", Markey told The Wall Street Journal yesterday. In a commentary carried by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the North warned of an "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war" on the peninsula.
Around 17,500 United States troops will participate in this year's drills - a cutback from last year - according to numbers provided by Seoul's defence ministry.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week held off on threats to fire missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.
North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fueled a surge in tension.
The U.S. generals were to travel to the site of a contentious U.S. missile-defence system in South Korea later Tuesday.
Both US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced last week that they were keeping military options on the table in dealing with North Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday the joint drills are defensive in nature and not meant to raise tensions on the peninsula. Russian Federation has also asked for the drills to stop but the United States has not backed down.
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North Korea has warned the USA will be "pouring gasolene on the fire" by conducting a war game with its long-time southern foe. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "It's time for us to be in a tit-for-tat over North Korea's nuclear weapons".
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