North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened a powerful retaliatory strike against South Korea if provoked, state media said today, a day before the annual South Korean-US military drills that Pyongyang calls an invasion rehearsal. South Korean and US officials have said the 12-day, largely computer-simulated war games are defensive in nature. The reported threat came a day after a senior US envoy said ties between the rival Koreas must improve before the United States and North Korea can achieve real progress.
Kim, supreme commander of the North's 1.2 million-member military, made the comment during a visit to front-line military units, including one that shelled a South Korean island in 2010. "He ordered them to make a powerful retaliatory strike at the enemy, should the enemy intrude even 0.001 millimeter into the waters of the country where its sovereignty is exercised," KCNA said. It did not say when Kim visited. KCNA said fears of a war have heightened due to the drills, which it called a "new war of aggression." North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission threatened yesterday to wage a "sacred war" over the exercises.