North Korea on Sunday lashed out at a live-fire drill the US and South Korea staged in a show of force against Pyongyang, accusing Washington of pushing the peninsula to the “tipping point” of nuclear war.
The allies held the rare live-fire drill as tensions grew over the peninsula following the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test held last week.
The test sparked global alarm as it suggested North Korea now possessed an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska, a major milestone for the reclusive, nuclear-armed state.
Saturday’s drill, designed to “sternly respond” to potential missile launches by the North, saw two US bombers destroy “enemy” missile batteries and South Korean jets mount precision strikes against underground command posts.
The North’s state-run Rodong newspaper accused Washington and Seoul of ratcheting up tensions with the drill, in an editorial titled “Don’t play with fire on a powder keg.”
“The US, with its dangerous military provocation, is pushing the risk of a nuclear war on the peninsula to a tipping point,” it said, describing the peninsula as the “world’s biggest tinderbox.”
During Saturday’s drill, long-range B-1B Lancer bombers reportedly flew close to the heavily-fortified border between two Koreas and dropped 2,000-pound (900 kilogram) bombs.