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Joint Exercises Prompt New Nuclear Threat from North Korea

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North Korea warned it would make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises set to begin Monday.

The news was announced in a statement by the National Defense Commission of North Korea and published in the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

“As the joint military exercises to be staged by the enemies are regarded as the most undisguised nuclear war drills aimed to infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its military counteraction will be more preemptive and offensive nuclear strike to cope with them,” the statement read.

The bellicose words are typical of North Korea and are to be expected around the annual joint military exercises, according to CNN’s Paula Hancocks.

“They (North Korea) have threatened this before, and these kinds of threats are to be expected this time of year,” she said.

Hancocks noted that tensions this year are even higher than normal following recent action at the United Nations.

The Security Council voted last week to impose an array of sanctions against North Korea because of that nation’s recent nuclear test and missile launch, both of which defied international sanctions. The resolution that brought about the sanctions aims to cripple the economic factors that fuel the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The North Korean news agency has blasted the sanctions as “unprecedented and gangster-like.”