South Korea said as it kicked off its largest-ever military exercises with the United States that it will respond without mercy if North Korea carries out its threats.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Moon Sang-gyun made the remarks on Monday in response to North Korea’s harsh opposition to the annual drills in the South.
The North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, had referred to the possible deployment of a missile carrying a nuclear warhead. Its National Defense Commission threatened earlier on Monday to carry out a pre-emptive attack.
Moon warned that North Korea must immediately suspend its self-destructive and rash actions.
The exercises come after North Korea’s most recent nuclear test and rocket launch, widely believed to be a test of a long-range ballistic missile.
The drills put greater emphasis on boosting the wartime capability of the South and its ally, involving about 300,000 South Korean and 17,000 US troops.
The US is sending the nuclear aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and state-of-the-art F-22 stealth fighters, along with other key military equipment.
The drills will include map exercises on command and control alignment, and an amphibious landing operation based on the scenario of advancing into North Korea after attacks by the country.
The war games will last until the end of April.
Source and image: NHK