North Korea has threatened that it will carry out “indiscriminate” nuclear strikes on South Korea as well as the US if they proceed to conduct the joint military drills.
The tension-attracting exercise is an annual one and thousands of troops are usually involved.
The North leader, Pyongyan, put out the statement in which he talked of “pre-emptive nuclear strike for justice.”
These kinds of statements are common from the North and experts doubt whether the country can place nuclear warheads on its missiles.
Last year, Washington was threatened by the same country that it would be turned into “sea of fire.”
The US-South Korean war games are viewed by N. Korea as a way of preparing to invade it.
This year’s exercise, which has been dubbed Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, will consist of 15,000 US personnel and 300,000 S. Korea troops. That is the largest number in such an operation.
They have come just a few weeks after the UN Security Council endorsed tough sanctions against North Korea. The measures were taken after the country carried out nuclear test and also launched a rocket.
The response from the North to the sanctions is that it is putting its nuclear weapons ready for “pre-emptive” use and also by firing short-range missiles into the sea.
On Friday, talks between the US and S. Korea started as the two discuss on how to move a missile defense system to the Peninsula. China, Russia and its ally, North Korea strongly opposes this move.
Beijing statement says that the system will be a compromise to security and also undermine its nuclear deterrent.
Nuclear defense system
The system is also referred to as Thaad, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System. Among its tasks is to shoot down medium and short-range missile while they are still in their terminal range of flight.
It produces kinetic energy that destroys the incoming warhead.
The altitude that it can reach is 150 km and has a range of 200 km.
- A missile is launched by the enemy
- This is detected by the Thaad radar system and then relays the information to the command and control
- Thaad command and control instructs the launch of an interceptor missile
- The interceptor missile is fired at the enemy projectile
- The enemy projectile is destroyed in the terminal phase of flight
Previously, the US has deployed the system to Hawaii and Guam so as to be cautious of any attack from North Korea.