North Korea Threatens US-South Korea Drills with Nuclear Reprisal

North Korea has increased its war rhetoric ahead of scheduled US-South Korea military exercises, saying that it would not hesitate to use “powerful nuclear deterrence” against the planned drills, which Pyongyang describes as something that amounts to provocation of war.

The threat comes as US and South Korean soldiers are set to begin the military drills over the weekend. Earlier this week, military officials from the US and South Korea announced that they would be conducting the drills to send a message to the North, which Seoul accuses of sinking its warship, Cheonan, back in March.

North Korea’s National Defense Commission issued the statement on Saturday, saying that “the army and people of the (North) will legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises.” The North also warned that the military exercises would only push Pyongyang further away from cooperating in the efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

The US-South Korean drills will involve close to 8,000 soldiers from the two countries, along with submarines, ships, and aircraft, including several F-22 Raptor stealth jets. The military exercises in the East Sea are expected to last until Wednesday next week.