North Korea Wednesday stepped up its criticism of a major US-South Korean military exercise, saying it could impede progress on an international nuclear disarmament deal.
The annual exercise involving tens of thousands of troops began Monday south of the border. Seoul and Washington say it is purely defensive while Pyongyang says it is aimed at starting a new war on the peninsula.
“This situation compels the DPRK (North Korea) to heighten vigilance against such unjust demands as the ‘verification in line with the international standard’ recently claimed by the US as regards the nuclear issue,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.
“The DPRK will increase its war deterrent in every way as long as the US and its followers continue posing military threats to it.”
The North, which tested an atomic weapon in October 2006, describes its nuclear programme as part of that deterrent. It has made similar threats in the past.