The United States and South Korean troops began large-scale military exercises on Monday to test of their defences against North Korea which called the drills “nuclear war moves” and threatened “indiscriminate” nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US mainland.

U.S. Army soldiers prepare for an exercise during their annual military drills with South Korea (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
U.S. Army soldiers prepare for an exercise during their annual military drills with South Korea (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The said exercises would be the largest-ever joint military drills following the fourth nuclear test by North Korea in January and a long-range rocket launch last month that triggered tough new sanctions from UN.

North Korea had been notified of “the non-provocative nature of this training,” involving more than 300,000 South Korean troops and about 17,000 American said the joint U.S. and South Korean military command.

Hours before the exercises began North Korea’s National Defence Commission said it was prepared for an “all-out” military counter-offensive.

“As the joint military exercises to be staged by the enemies are regarded as the most undisguised nuclear war drills aimed to infringe upon the sovereignty of (North Korea), its military counteraction will be more preemptive and offensive nuclear strike to cope with them,” the statement said.

“The army and people of the DPRK will launch an all-out offensive to decisively counter the U.S. and its followers’ hysterical nuclear war moves,” the North Korean commission said.

The U.S. and South Korea began talks on the deployment of an advanced anti-missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.

The United States and China drafted the latest U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea as punishment for its nuclear test and satellite launch.

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