SEOUL: North Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday (Feb 2) that joint drills by the United States and its allies have pushed the situation to an "extreme red-line" and threaten to turn the peninsula into a "huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone".
The statement, carried by state news agency KCNA, said Pyongyang was not interested in dialogue as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.
"The military and political situation on the Korean peninsula and in the region has reached an extreme red-line due to the reckless military confrontational manoeuvres and hostile acts of the US and its vassal forces," an unnamed ministry spokesperson said in the statement.
The statement cited a visit to Seoul this week by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
On Tuesday Austin and his South Korean counterpart vowed to expand military drills and deploy more "strategic assets", such as aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, to counter North Korea's weapons development and prevent a war.
On Wednesday the United States and South Korea carried out a joint air drill with American B-1B heavy bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, as well as F-35 jets from both countries, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.
"This is a vivid expression of the US dangerous scenario which will result in turning the Korean peninsula into a huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone," the North Korean statement said.
North Korea will respond in kind to any military moves by the United States, and has strong counteraction strategies, including "the most overwhelming nuclear force" if necessary, the statement added.