Beijing: North Korea on Sunday condemned the upcoming South Korea-US annual joint military exercises, and termed it an "unpardonable military provocation and a declaration of an all-out war" against Pyongyang.
The joint drill, code-named "Ulchi Freedom Guardian", will take place on August 20-31 and involve 56,000 South Korean and 30,000 US soldiers, Xinhua reported.
"It is an unpardonable military provocation and a declaration of an all-out war" against North Korea, the country`s official news agency KCNA said.
"The prevailing situation clearly shows who is the root disturbing the peace and security in the peninsula and who is the source and provocateur of a war," it said.
The statement came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected a frontline artillery unit of the Korean People`s Army (KPA) on Mu islet.
Kim praised the service members and told them never to tolerate any enemy aggression.
"If the enemy dares recklessly pre-empt firing and even a single shell drops on the territory of North Korea, the KPA should lead the battle to a sacred war for national reunification, not confining it to a local war on the southwest region," Kim was quoted as saying.
Kim, also supreme commander of the KPA, ordered the army to turn the sea into a "graveyard of the invaders".
North and South Korea exchanged fierce artillery fire near Yonphyong Island in November 2010, killing four South Koreans. Both sides accused the other of firing the first shot.
Xinhua said the North Korean leader criticised the US and South Korea for "threatening peace and stability of not only North Korea but of the region and the rest of the world".
He ordered the servicemen to be vigilant "against every move of the enemy" and "not to miss their golden chance to deal at once deadly counter-blows at the enemy" if even a single shell is dropped on the waters or in the area where the sovereignty of North Korea is exercised, KCNA said.