North Korea Threatens 'Sacred War' With The South

North Korea threatened Thursday to launch a ""sacred war"" after South Korea completed large military exercises near the volatile inter-Korean border.

""The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are getting fully prepared to launch a sacred war of justice of Korean style based on the nuclear deterrent at anytime necessary,"" North Korea's defense minister Kim Yong Chun said, according to the state-run news agency.

""The South Korean puppet forces perpetrated such grave military provocation as renewing their shelling against the DPRK during their recent exercises for a war of aggression in the West Sea of Korea,"" Chun said. ""This indicates that the enemy's scenario for aggression aimed at the start of another Korean War, has reached the phase of its implementation.

U.S. officials appear unimpressed by the threats.""Unfortunately, North Korea is back to its old belligerent tricks,"" wrote State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley in a Twitter posting. ""We need constructive actions, not heated rhetoric.""

The long-planned South Korean exercises, billed as the largest land and air winter drills, were conducted just 15 miles from the North Korean border. More than 800 military personnel, fighter jets and anti-tank missiles took part inthe exercise in Pocheon, which also involved more than 100 types of weapons.

The drills took place on undisputed South Korean territory but it was the timing that was worrisome to the region. Tensions have been running high since the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan last March, killing 46 sailors.

South Korea and the international community blamed the North for the Cheonan incident, but Pyongyang denied the accusations."