Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Pyongyang: After a period of lull, North Korea is at it again. Reiterating its war rhetoric, the Hermit Kingdom has warned of “final destruction" as the US and South Korea were set to stage a massive joint naval drill near the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.
North Korea has always seen joint US-South Korea military exercises as a threat against Pyongyang and reacted vehemently by issuing aggressive statements.
Mortified by the US-South Korea drill, which comes as a part of a new joint pact to deal with "key North Korean nuclear threat scenarios", Pyongyang has ordered its troops to stay on alert and warned the US and South of ”horrible disasters”
According to state media reports, a North Korean military spokesman said that all troops have been ordered to "keep themselves ready to promptly launch operations at any time."
The move was confirmed by the South Korean Defense Ministry.
North Korean provocation this time has been triggered by the inclusion of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the drill.
Adding fuel to the fears was a report in the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), according to which the ship was carrying "at least 100 nuclear bombs aboard."
Reacting fiercely, North Korea’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPK) has warned that the latest moves will push the Korean peninsula to the "brink of nuclear war".
"The latest military manouevres are creating a grave crisis on the peninsula -- a tinderbox where any error of judgment or accident can trigger a nuclear war," the CPK said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"If the enemies continue to run amok in a plot against us, we will launch merciless pre-emptive attacks to bring them to a final destruction," it added.
The world is used to the rhetoric statements of North Korea, which is famous for issuing bold statements and not following them.
Earlier, the season of North Korean rhetoric was seen after its atomic test in February, which escalated tension in the Korean peninsula with the US deploying stealthy bombers during the joint military drills with the South and North spewing nuclear strike threats.
But the tension seemed to ease after the North shifted to a softer tone and agreed to hold talks with South over Kaesong zone. It also agreed to hold family reunions for those separated during the Korean War, which it delayed later.
However in recent months, satellite imagery by a US Institute suggested that North Korea was restarting its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.