North Korea slams South Korea-US drills, warns of military moves

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North Korea slams South Korea-US drills, warns of military moves

North Korea threatened on Tuesday to take unspecified "responsible" military action in retaliation, branding the continuing military exercises between South Korea and the United States as a conspiracy to invade the nation.

The North's threat was issued the day after the annual 11-day computer-simulated command post training and various field exercises between South Korean and American forces began. There will be 48 field exercises in this year's drills—twice as many as there were in the previous year.

The North's Defense Ministry issued a statement, which was aired by state media, in which it declared its strong opposition to the U.S. and South Korea's careless military games, saying that they pose a greater threat to a sovereign state and are attempting to invade it.

According to an anonymous ministry spokesman, North Korea's military would keep an eye out for the enemy' daring actions and engage in responsible military operations to maintain tight control over the fragile security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Although the representative did not specify what actions North Korea would take, experts predict that the country will probably launch missiles or take other actions to improve its capabilities to wage war.

Although South Korean and American authorities have consistently stated that their training is defensive in character, North Korea sees its competitors' large-scale military exercises as invasion practice. North Korea has fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response to South Korean-US drills in the past.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea and the United States announced last week that live-firing, bombing, air assault, and missile interception exercises will be part of this year's military exercises aimed at countering North Korea's nuclear threats.

In the last two years, North Korea has openly threatened to deploy nuclear weapons as a preemptive measure and tested missiles at a record rate, raising concerns about the country's nuclear program. In response, the United States and South Korea have intensified their military drills and boosted the use of formidable American military hardware, including as aircraft carriers and bombers equipped with nuclear weapons.

North Korea conducted six rounds of artillery shooting training and missile testing this year. In addition, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to abandon his nation's long-standing objective of peacefully unifying with South Korea and said that his nation will not pursue reconciliation with that country. Kim declared that North Korea would adopt a more assertive military stance along the South Korean-disputed sea border.

According to experts, North Korea might think that having a larger arsenal of weapons will give it more clout when negotiating with the US in the future. It is said that North Korea is in a frantic attempt to gain international recognition as a nuclear power, believing that this would enable it to be exempted from economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

As the United States and South Korea prepare for significant elections, North Korea is predicted to escalate tensions even further this year with more missile launches and bellicose statements. Experts predict that North Korea may carry out a minor act of provocation this year close to its tense border with South Korea.