Flags of the Republic of Korea and the United States flutter before a joint river-crossing drill between the Republic of Korea and the United States in Yeoju, the Republic of Korea, on Oct 19, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea threatened on Friday an "unprecedentedly persistent, strong" response as the Republic of Korea and the United States gear up for annual military exercises.
The DPRK's foreign ministry accused the United States of stoking tension and of using the UN Security Council as "a tool for illegal hostile policy" to pressure Pyongyang.
The DPRK had "refrained from any special military action" this year except for regular activities, but the allies' scheduled drills would create a "grave vortex of escalating tension," the ministry said.
"If it is the US option to show its muscle and counter everything with muscle, the same is true of the DPRK's option," the ministry said in a statement carried by state media KCNA.
If it is the US option to show its muscle and counter everything with muscle, the same is true of the DPRK's option.
The DPRK's foreign ministry
The ministry also warned that if the UNSC continues to be "inveigled" by Washington, it would reconsider additional actions beyond normal military activities, without elaborating.
The statement came less than two hours after the ROK announced joint tabletop exercises next week aimed at improving operations of American nuclear assets, and regular springtime drills next month.
The nuclear drills, called the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise, are scheduled for Feb 22 at the Pentagon and will involve senior defense policymakers from both sides, the ROK's defense ministry said.
It would be their first such exercises since both sides agreed last year to hold them annually, with Seoul seeking to bolster confidence in American extended deterrence - its military capability, especially nuclear forces, to deter attacks on its allies.
On Feb 23, the officials will visit the Kings Bay naval base in Georgia that houses key nuclear submarines.
The springtime Freedom Shield field training will separately begin in mid-March in the ROK for a 11-day run.
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