Speed Reads

u.s./north korea

North Korea threatens 'merciless strike' for annual military drills

The North Korean government on Sunday threatened the United States with a "merciless strike" in response to the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, 10 days of joint drills the United States conducts with the South Korean military each year. While Washington and Seoul maintain the exercises are merely defensive drills, Pyongyang considers them invasion practice, on Sunday labeling the training "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war."

The statement from the Kim Jong Un regime also promised the North Korean army is "keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies" when "even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted." Though Pyongyang did not elaborate on its definition of "preventive war," the reference was presumably to recent comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the Trump administration is keeping military options on the table for halting North Korea's nuclear ambitions.