North Korea lashes out against US-South Korean naval drills
October 13, 2016
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea lashed out at U.S.-South Korean naval drills that began this week and warned that a pre-emptive strike by the allies would lead to their “self-destruction.”
The war games, dubbed Invincible Spirit, began Monday with the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft stationed in the waters surrounding the divided peninsula. The U.S. and South Korean navies also began a round of multinational anti-mine exercises.
North Korea accused the allies of rehearsing precision strikes against its nuclear and missile bases as well as plans to infiltrate areas north of the 38th parallel with special forces.
In a commentary Wednesday, Rodong Sinmun — the ruling party’s official newspaper — said “ceaseless saber-rattling being staged by the [South Korean President] Park Geun-hye group of traitors together with the U.S against [North Korea] is chiefly aimed to further round off the system for preemptive strike at the north and ignite a war against it at any cost.”
North Korea frequently denounces joint exercises in the South via its state-run media, calling them a rehearsal for an invasion.
The participation of the Yokosuka, Japan-based Ronald Reagan — the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier — was the latest show of force in a year that has seen Pyongyang conduct two nuclear tests and several missile launches despite toughened U.N. sanctions and international condemnation.
In response to the rising tensions, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, Moon Sang-gyun, said Monday that pre-emptive strikes against the North are an option if there are indications that it is preparing to launch a nuclear attack.
The Rodong Sinmun commentary said there is a limit to North Korea’s “patience and endurance” and warned it would use its nuclear deterrence capabilities to wipe out the allied nations.
“The U.S. and the Park group should not forget even a moment that their pre-emptive strike at the DPRK will lead them to their unimaginably miserable self-destruction,” it said.
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