North Korea says it will attack the United States if Washington does not cancel the multinational military exercises which are slated to begin on Monday.
The yearly exercises, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, will be carried out by the US, South Korea and other allies to enhance “readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula," read a statement from the Korea-US Combined Forces Command.
“The further Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises are intensified, the stronger military counteraction the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will take to cope with them,” said a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defense Commission on Saturday.
North Korea will “retaliate against the US with tremendous muscle” if the US does not cancel the war games, he said
The spokesman added that the North Korean army and people “are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the US nukes with rifles.”
Pyongyang is an “invincible power” and the country’s army possesses the “latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world,” he stated.
Also, North Korean state television KCNA said Saturday that Washington has to stop the exercises “immediately” if the “United States wants its mainland to be safe.”
Tens of thousands of American and South Korean military forces are scheduled to take part in the joint exercise which will last for 12 days.
In addition, other US allies, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France and New Zealand will participate in the drills.
North Korea is under UN sanctions over launching rockets considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic missiles aimed at delivering nuclear warheads, but Pyongyang says its numerous missile tests seek to boost defense capabilities in the face of enemy threats.