North Korea, the rogue state run by leader Kim Jong-un, has threatened the US with attack if it does not cancel multinational military exercises set to commence tomorrow (17 August). North Korea's National Defense Commission said that it would respond to the exercises with strong "military counteraction" and with "tremendous muscle" should they go ahead.
The annual event – Ulchi Freedom Guardian – also include North Korea's neighbour South Korea and aims to "protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula", according to a statement from the Korean-US Combined Forces Command.
A spokesman for the National Defense Commission said that North Korea was "no longer what [it] used to be in the past when [it] had to counter the US nukes with rifles" and that North Korea's army possessed the "latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world".
The exercises will involve thousands of troops from US ally countries including Australia, the UK, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France and New Zealand and will last for 12 days.
North Korea has commemorated the 70th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan, following the failure to agree to a joint set of celebrations with its South Korean neighbour. The Conference for National Unification is a series of events marking Korea's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
The Conference began on Mt Paekdu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula. It also stopped at the birthplace of late founder of North Korean Kim Il-sung.