North Korea threatens 'war'

Military warns of "merciless" response as US and South Korea begin annual war games.

    The North has warned of "merciless" retaliation if US and South Korean forces enter its territory [EPA]

    A day earlier North Korea threatened to "deal merciless retaliatory blows" if US and South Korean forces intrude "even an inch" into North Korean territory.

    Balance of forces



    NORTH KOREA


    Army: 1.12m troops (plus 4.7 million reserves)
    Tanks: c.3,500
    Air force: 1,500 aircraft*
    Navy: 420 warships

    SOUTH KOREA

    Army: 587,000 troops (plus 29,000 US troops based in country)
    Tanks: 2,330
    Air force: 790 aircraft
    Navy: 162 warships

    Sources: SIPRI, Globalsecurity.org
    (*most North Korean aircraft are considered obsolete and possibly unable to fly due to lack of fuel and spare parts.)

    The US and South Korea began joint military exercises on Monday involving 26,000 US troops, more than 30,000 South Korean soldiers and the aircraft carrier USS Jong C Stennis.

    Commanders say the Key Resolve-Foal Eagle exercises are designed to test the ability to deploy troops and equipment to the Korean peninsula in the event of an emergency.

    The North has described the 12 days of operations taking place in more than 20 locations across South Korea as "extremely adventurous and dangerous military provocations … an undisguised military threat".

    In a statement the Korean People's Army described the exercises as "unprecedented in the number of the aggressor forces involved and in their duration".

    "A war will break out if the US imperialists and the warmongers of the South Korean puppet military hurl the huge troops and sophisticated strike means to mount an attack."

    A separate statement said that North Korea would cut off military communications lines with the South during the exercises since maintaining normal channels would be "nonsensical".

    Pyongyang regularly accuses the US and South Korea of hostile intentions before the annual exercises, which have been held for years without major incident.

    'Arch criminals'

    On Sunday, KCNA accused the Americans of being "arch criminals prodding the North and the South into armed conflict".

    Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been rising, with Pyongyang declaring last month that it was "fully ready for an all-out confrontation" with South Korea.
     
    The North announced in January that it was scrapping all agreements with the South, including a 1991 pact that recognised the Northern Limit Line, a sea border drawn unilaterally by US-led United Nations forces after the 1950-1953 Korean war.

    On Thursday, Pyongyang said it could not guarantee the safety of the South's commercial flights off the east coast of the peninsula, where the missile launch site is believed to be located.

    Airlines have said they would avoid North Korean airspace as a precaution, while the South Korean government has demanded that Pyongyang withdraw what it called an "inhumane" threat to civilian aircraft.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months