North Korea issued yet another threat to attack the United States – this time “with tremendous muscle” – if it didn’t cancel military exercises with South Korea scheduled to begin this week.
The Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command maintains the purpose of the drills – called Ulchi Freedom Guardian – is "to enhance ... readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula."
However, the North reckons these exercises are basically a launch pad for the U.S. to initiate a nuclear war.
Although these war threats are nothing new, CNN reports Pyongyang’s rhetoric this time around seems “particularly ratcheted-up.”
"The army and people of the DPRK are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the U.S. nukes with rifles," a spokesman for North Korea's National Defense Commission (NDC) was quoted as saying. "[North Korea] is the invincible power equipped with both [the] latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world."
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Despite the threats, the drills have reportedly started on schedule, according to Yonhap, South Korea’s largest news agency.
Since the North is also likely to testfire missiles during the exercises, Adm. Choi Yoon-hee, South Korea's military chief, has ordered his troops to "retaliate more powerfully and resolutely against any enemy provocation.”
"The (South Korean) military is standing with a war-readiness position under which any types of North Korean provocations could be retaliated against strongly at the spot," a military official told Yonhap.