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North Korea threatens 'merciless' strike against US-South Korea drill

Published on Aug 17, 2014 1:26 PM
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on August 15, 2014 shows a test firing of a newly developed high-performance tactical rocket at undisclosed place in North Korea. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea warned on Sunday of a "merciless" pre-emptive strike as it blasted upcoming joint United States-South Korean military exercises as a rehearsal for nuclear war.

In a statement published Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency, the North's military accused Washington and Seoul of planning a "dangerous" rehearsal for nuclear war. "We declare once again that we will mercilessly open the strongest... pre-emptive strike of our own style any time at our discretion," it said.

North Korean soldiers were ready to "turn the strongholds of aggression into a sea of fire and ashes", the statement added.

South Korea and the United States on Monday start the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill aimed at testing combat readiness for a North Korean invasion. Although largely played out on computers, it involves tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops.

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