N.Korea vows response to U.S.-South Korea war drills

AFP

3 min read
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
Korea Central News Agency / Korea News Service via APNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Vigilant Storm saw some of the most advanced U.S. and South Korean warplanes in action

The North Korean military said its response to U.S.-South Korean war drills would be "resolute and overwhelming," state media reported Monday.

The warning came after a spate of North Korean weapons tests last week - including an intercontinental ballistic missile - as the United States and South Korea conducted their biggest-ever air force exercise.

The United States and South Korea have warned that such missile launches could culminate in a nuclear test by North Korea.

The North Korean military, formally known as the Korean People's Army (KPA), said it was responding to Vigilant Storm - the U.S.-South Korean exercise - describing it as "an open provocation," according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Vigilant Storm was "aimed at intentionally escalating the tension in the region and a dangerous war drill of very high aggressive nature directly targeting" North Korea, the KPA said.

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North Korea will respond to all "anti-DPRK war drills" with "sustained, resolute and overwhelming" measures, it added.

The United States dismissed criticism of the exercise as North Korean propaganda, saying it posed no threat to other nations. The KPA said it conducted operations, including the launch of tactical ballistic missiles that simulated attacks on air force bases, and practiced shooting down enemy aircraft.

The North Korean air force also carried out a "large-scale all-out combat sortie operation," involving 500 planes, according to KCNA. That mobilization prompted South Korea to scramble fighter jets on Friday.

Images of North Korean military operations released on Monday by KCNA showed missiles being fired from various undisclosed locations, including some from mobile launchers.

Vigilant Storm saw some of the most advanced U.S. and South Korean warplanes in action, including F-35 stealth fighters. The exercise was meant to run from Monday to Friday last week, but Washington and Seoul extended it by a day in response to the flurry of North Korean missile launches.

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