US-South Korea drills driving tensions to 'brink of nuclear war': DPRK
The DPRK vows to respond against any triggers for nuclear war over the Korean peninsula.
The DPRK announced that the joint military drills by the United States and South Korea are creating tensions on the Korean Peninsula to the "brink of a nuclear war," vowing to respond with "offensive action."
Both US and South Korean forces began a series of annual springtime military drills in March, including their first large-scale amphibious landing drills in five years. The joint air and sea exercises, among others, involve a US aircraft carrier and B-1B and B-2 bombers.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency published a commentary on Thursday, describing the drills as "a trigger for driving the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the point of explosion."
"The reckless military confrontational hysteria of the US and its followers against the DPRK is driving the situation on the Korean Peninsula to an irreversible catastrophe... to the brink of a nuclear war," the commentary read.
It also warned that "the drills have turned the Korean Peninsula into a huge powder magazine which can be detonated any moment," adding that the international community is hoping for a nuclear war to loom over the Korean Peninsula.
A nuclear-capable B-52 bomber was deployed to the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday in a show of strength against Pyongyang on the pretext that it might conduct a nuclear test. The US long-range bombers were sent for the first time to the peninsula during the month.
Lieutenant General Park Ha-sik, commander of the South Korean air force operation command, in a statement that the drills "show the strong resolve of the [South] Korea-US alliance and its perfect readiness to respond to any provocation by North Korea swiftly and overwhelmingly."
Last month, Seoul and Washington both concluded their regular springtime exercises, called Freedom Shield 23, but are now conducting amphibious landing drills. During the same period, both the US and South Korean militaries conducted their biggest field exercises in five years as well as computer simulations for command post-training.
The US also sent its nuclear-powered USS Nimitz aircraft carriers for naval training last week with South Korea.
The US, South Korean, and Japanese navies began their first anti-submarine drills in six months on Monday to allegedly strengthen their coordination against what they call an increasing missile threat from North Korea.
Developments rise as Washington and Seoul expand their combined military drills in response to what they call the DPRK's nuclear and missile threats. As a permanent military presence in South Korea, the US has 28,500 troops scattered around the country.
That said, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has recently called on his military to get ready for war.
On a similar note, South Korea and the United States yesterday held joint air drills involving at least one US nuclear-capable B-52H strategic bomber, as per Seoul's military.
The DPRK (North Korea) views such exercises as rehearsals for invasion and has responded to other recent drills with a spate of weapons tests.
In recent weeks, the DPRK launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and tested what the state-run media characterized as an underwater drone with nuclear capability. Meanwhile, the US and the South have ramped up defense cooperation.