North Korea Threatens Nuclear Strikes

North Korea Threatens Nuclear StrikesNorth Korea Threatens Nuclear Strikes

North Korea has warned of “indiscriminate” nuclear strikes on the US and South Korea as the two begin their largest ever military drills.

The exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are an annual event and always generate tension.

The order for a “preemptive nuclear strike of justice” was made in a statement put out by Pyongyang. Such rhetoric is not uncommon and experts doubt the North’s ability to put nuclear warheads on its missiles, BBC reported.

North Korea says it sees the annual US-South Korean wargames as a rehearsal for invasion. Last year, it threatened to turn Washington into a “sea of fire”.

Approximately 17,000 US forces are participating in the exercises, alongside around 300,000 South Korean troops—both significant increases from the 2015 numbers.

Despite starting on the same day, Key Resolve is more computer simulation-driven and ends on 18 March, while Foal Eagle is more focused on field exercises and runs until 30 April.

The South Korea’s Defense ministry has warned Pyongyang against any “rash act that brings destruction upon itself”.

“If North Korea ignores our warning and makes provocations, our military will firmly and mercilessly respond to it,” said spokesman Moon Sang-gyun.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also demanded that North Korea show restraint.

“North Korea’s nuclear and nuclear missile development is absolutely unacceptable. We will coordinate with the international community to demand that North Korea show restraint, and abide by the various resolutions, including that of the six-party talks,” he said.

Though unconfirmed, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing military sources, has reported that the exercises will include training for precision attacks on North Korean leadership and its nuclear and missile facilities.

These latest exercises come just days after the UN passed new sanctions against North Korea following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. On Saturday, the Philippines impounded a North Korean cargo vessel under the toughened measures. A presidential spokesman said the crew would be deported and the ship subject to a UN-mandated inspection.

The North responded to the sanctions by saying it was readying nuclear weapons for “preemptive” use and by firing short-range missiles into the sea.