Washington: North Korea has warned the top American commander in South Korea of "miserable destruction" if the US military presses ahead with routine joint drills with South Korea set to begin next month.
Pyongyang`s official Korean Central News Agency said that in a rare direct message, Pak Rim Su, chief of North Korea`s military delegation to the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone, sent the message to General James Thurman, reports Fox News.
The threat comes as the US and other nations discuss how to punish North Korea for conducting an underground nuclear test on February 12 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang from nuclear and missile activity.
North Korea has characterized the nuclear test, its third since 2006, as a defensive act against U.S. aggression.
Pyongyang accuses Washington of "hostility" for leading the charge to punish North Korea for a December rocket launch that the U.S. considers a covert missile test.
The U.S. and North Korea fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty, and left the Korean Peninsula divided by a heavily fortified border monitored by the U.S.-led U.N. Command.
Washington also stations 28,500 American troops in South Korea to protect its ally against North Korean aggression.
South Korea and the U.S. regularly conduct joint drills such as the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises slated to take place next month. North Korea calls the drills proof of US hostility, and accuses Washington of practicing for an invasion.