N. Korea threatens ‘merciless’ retaliation against US over joint exercises

March 14, 2015

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) — North Korea again condemned the United States Saturday for its joint exercises with South Korea, vowing harsh retaliations.

Seoul and Washington kicked off their annual military drills on March 2 — the command post exercise of Key Resolve and field training exercise Foal Eagle — to improve their combat capabilities to deter threats from North Korea. Key Resolve was completed on Friday, with Foal Eagle set to run until April 24.

“Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises are used as a military means for implementing the U.S. vicious hostile policy towards the DPRK,” the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said, citing the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Repeating its long-held claims that the exercises is aimed at “stifling the country and toppling the Korean-style socialist system centered on the popular masses even by waging a nuclear war,” the newspaper said, calling a nuclear war is not a “game.”

“The U.S. imperialists should not misjudge the firm will of the army and people of the DPRK to mercilessly smash the anti-DPRK hysterics and eliminate the source of evils,” to the report said.

Having Issued near-daily threats of retaliations against the United States and South Korea, North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its east coast on the first day of the exercises and seven ground-to-air missiles on Friday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is believed to have observed Friday’s missile firings, according to South Korean defense officials.

South Korea and the United States say that their exercises are routine and defensive.

About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.