A nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is inevitable because of threatening military drills by South Korea and the United States, North Korea's foreign ministry said in comments carried by the official Korean Central News Agency late Wednesday.
The foreign ministry said the military exercises involving hundreds of South Korean and U.S warplanes made the outbreak of war an "established fact." It also blamed high-ranking U.S. officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, for "bellicose remarks."
Pompeo said Saturday that U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn’t have a good idea about how tenuous his situation is domestically and internationally as he pushes ahead with North Kore's nuclear weapons program.
"We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the U.S. miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the U.S. dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened," North Korea, which regularly threatens the U.S. and its allies, said.
The comments were consistent with the tone of Pyongyang's previous confrontational remarks and statements condemning Washington and Seoul.
South Korea's military said the drills — a Guam-based bomber simulated land strikes at a field near South Korea’s eastern coast — "displayed the allies’ strong intent and ability to punish North Korea when threatened by nuclear weapons and missiles."
Flyovers have become an increasingly familiar show of force to North Korea, which after three intercontinental ballistic missile tests and six nuclear tests has moved closer toward building a nuclear arsenal that could viably target the U.S. mainland.