North Korean state media warned U.S. Military officials on Monday that “thermonuclear war” could break out after denouncing the U.S. and South Korea joint military drills test-firing strategic cruise missiles on the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. and South Korean militaries began their annual Ulchi Freedom Shield computer-simulated command post exercise, which Navy officials said is designed to ensure the Alliance is ready to defend the Republic of Korea and promote security and stability in Northeast Asia. But North Korea has long viewed the drills as a potential war simulation.
“A thermo-nuclear war, the first ever in history, is more than likely on the Korean peninsula,” KCNA news agency reported.
The warning comes days after leaders of the U.S., South Korea, and Japan met at Camp David in Maryland last week to form their first stand-alone trilateral agreements dubbed the “Camp David Principles,” as threats from China and North Korea increase in the Pacific.
“The purpose of our trilateral security cooperation is and will remain to promote and enhance peace and stability throughout the region,” U.S. President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reportedly said in a joint statement.
The allied nations consented to ramp up ballistic missile defenses to counter North Korea’s nuclear missile threat.
North Korean state media reported authorities said the summit between allied nations aimed at formulating a “nuclear war provocation.”
“If the agreements fabricated at the Camp David Resort are additionally put into practice in the war drill … the possibility of outbreak of a thermonuclear war on the Korean peninsula will become more realistic,” KCNA news agency said.
According to NBC, North Korea has conducted over 100 weapons tests, including nuclear-capable missiles designed to attack the U.S., South Korea, and Japan since the beginning of last year.
The state-run commentary also said the armed forces of North Korea “will wait for a chance” to “punish the hostile forces threatening the sovereignty of our state and our people’s right to live century after century is waiting for the moment of flush.”
According to Reuters, the Japanese Coast Guard said North Korean officials plan to launch a satellite between Aug. 24 and Aug. 31 in the direction of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.
South Korean lawmakers reportedly said the North could protest the joint military drills and last week’s summit with the United States and Japan by showing force of military strength by test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile.