North Korea slammed the ongoing US-South Korean drills and promised to provide a relevant response to what it regarded as provocations, Japanese media reported Thursday, citing a statement from the Korea National Peace Committee.Pyongyang promised to respond to "playing with fire on top of a nuclear warehouse," the statement said, as quoted by the Japanese NHK broadcaster.
In this regard, the broadcaster suggests that North Korean authorities may launch a ballistic missile in the light of the anniversary of the start of country's "military-first" policy as they did last year.
Pyongyang has routinely criticized the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises, involving some 17,500 US and 50,000 South Korean troops, that kicked off on Monday and will continue through August 31.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated in recent months due to Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests, all conducted in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
In late June, Beijing proposed a "double freeze" scenario, in which North Korea ceases its nuclear missile tests, while US-South Korean military drills are simultaneously halted. The initiative has been backed by Moscow but rejected by Washington.