February 23, 2015 09:20
The military on Monday starts an exercise creating "hypothetical conditions for a combat environment" ahead of annual exercises with the U.S., a Defense Ministry spokesman here said Sunday.
The massive joint drills will start on March 2 and last two weeks.
North Korea has threatened to respond at the "highest level" to these drills, calling them a "nuclear war practice against the North." It has ratcheted up the rhetoric against the South after a lull over the Lunar New Year.
The North Korean military, meanwhile, started attack drills on South Korea's five northwesternmost islands with Silkworm land-to-ship missiles and SA-3 ground-to-air missiles, according to the official [North] Korean Central News Agency.
"It seems unlikely that inter-Korean relations are going to improve at the moment, although the government plans a variety of joint events marking the 70th anniversary of liberation and has replaced the unification minister," a researcher with a government-funded think tank said.
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