Joint US-South Korean military drills
"If North Korea carries out provocations that threaten the lives and safety of South Koreans, our military will carry out strong and resolute retaliations," said South Korean Army General Kim Yong-Hyun in a press briefing on Wednesday, reacting to a call by Pyongyang to nullify the 1953 armistice between the two neighbors, AFC reported.
North Korea announced on Tuesday that it would “completely declare invalid” the truce agreement between the two nations in case the United Nations moves ahead with efforts to impose additional sanctions on the country following its recent nuclear test.
The latest exchange of threats, however, occurs at a time of newly intensified tensions between the two Koreas after the North's successful launch of a long range rocket in December and its nuclear test last month.
North Korea’s military statement on Tuesday, according to the report, further mentioned its possession of "lighter and smaller nukes" than before.
The UN Security Council is expected this week to decide on even harsher sanctions on the North, further inciting a reaction from Pyongyang, which is also fuming about a series of joint military maneuvers by US and South Korean in the region.
In his press briefing in Seoul, General Kim, who is director general of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, further announced that a South Korean retaliation would not only target the "origin of provocation" but also the North's commanding forces, according to the report.
The yearly US-South Korea military drills, known as Foal Eagle, involves over 10,000 American troops and a much larger South Korean force that began on March 1 and scheduled to continue through April 30.
Additionally, says the report, a largely computer-simulated joint exercise, named ‘Key Resolve,’ is due to be held by the two military forces from March 11-21.
Meanwhile, the recent North Korean statement condemned the joint military drills as the "most dangerous nuclear war maneuvers... and the most undisguised military provocation."
"This land is neither the Balkans nor Iraq and Libya," said the statement, warning the launch "diversified precision nuclear strikes" by North Korea in response.