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PYONGYANG, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. North Korea will annually take countermeasures for self-defense purposes as long as the US and South Korea “continue maneuvres directed against us”, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
“This is a serious military provocation against North Korea and an inexcusable criminal action that undermines peace and security,” the North Korean ministry said.
It expressed indignation at the fact that US government officials call the US-South Korean exercises regular and defensive, the ministry said.
In Washington’s view, “North Korea’s self-defense measures, including tactical missiles launches, pose a threat to the whole region and raise serious concern”, the ministry said, adding that this year the United States and South Korea would implement “their own deterrence strategy”.
The ministry warned that the implementation of this strategy would be a manifestation of “blackmail and nuclear threat”.
On August 17, the spokesman for the North Korean army general staff told the state-run Korean Central News Agency that his country could “deliver the strongest and most merciless pre-emptive strikes … at any time” since the US and South Korea had threatened to deploy their customized deterrence strategies for their exercises.
The United States and South Korea have begun the computer-simulation Ulchi Freedom Guardian 12-day military drill involving tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops.
The Korean peninsula was divided in 1948 and the split was solidified by the 1950-1953 Korean War, which concluded without a peace treaty leaving the two Koreas still technically at war.