North Korean is raising the level of its anti-American rhetoric, threatening to cancel its decades-old armistice and launch a nuclear strike while accusing the United States of using military drills in South Korea to launch a nuclear war.
The cease fire between Korea and America in 1953 ended the three-year Korean War, and if dissolved could lead to a serious test of wills for the Obama White House.
“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” said North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesperson in a statement issued by the official KCNA news agency.
The unidentified spokesperson added that North Korea would “entitled to take military action” effective March 11, when U.S.-South Korea military drills move into a full scale phase, as it had declared the armistice invalid.
In response, South Korea issued a rare warning of its own on Wednesday, saying it would strike back at North Korea, targeting its leadership, if Pyongyang carried out any attack.
The United States and South Korea are involved in conducting annual military exercises, which are expected to continue as scheduled until the end of April. Officials of both countries are monitoring North Korea for signs that nation’s own military drills might suddenly become more than routine exercises.
South Korean defense ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok told reporters Thursday, “It is unusual that the North conducts military exercise at the state level, and the North is currently conducting various drills on land, at sea and in the air.
“We are therefore watching the North’s activities and stepping up readiness under the assumption that these drills can lead to provocation at any time.”