North Korea has strongly slammed the upcoming joint US-South Korean military exercises, vowing to take “a thousand-fold revenge” against them in case of any armed provocation.
“All the powerful strategic and tactical strike means of our revolutionary armed forces will go into preemptive and just operation to beat back the enemy forces to the last man if there is a slight sign of their special operation forces and equipment moving to carry out the so-called 'beheading operation' and 'high-density strike’,” the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army said in a statement on Tuesday carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
It threatened that the first target would be South Korea's presidential Blue House, while the "US imperialist aggressor forces' bases for invading the DPRK (North Korea) in the Asia-Pacific region and the US mainland" would be its secondary targets.
Some 15,000 US and 90,000 South Korean troops are expected to take part in the two-phased joint exercises, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, which are slated to begin in early March. Pyongyang sees these annual military maneuvers as a direct threat against its security and preparations for an invasion.
North Korea, which is under UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and missiles launches, accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government, and says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. It also launched a long-range rocket earlier this month reportedly aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, the US and South Korea denounced the move as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.