North Korea has warned of "self-defensive blows" to South Korea if they participate in joint, live-fire military exercises with the United States, scheduled to begin in the next few days. The U.S. and South Korea will be taking part in a one day, live-fire exercise on Yeonpyeong Island, the island which was shelled by North Korean artillery on November 23.
Nearly 200 rounds of artillery were fired at the island. Four people were killed and another 14 were injured in the attack. South Korea had been taking part in annual military exercises with the U.S., off the island's west coast when the attack occurred. They returned fire, firing nearly 80 rounds of artillery, but no damage was reported on the North Korean side.
"Second and third self-defensive blows that cannot be predicted will be dealt. The intensity and range of the firepower will create a situation more serious than one on Nov. 23," said a statement released by the North Korean government via the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country's main news agency. It accused the two nations of creating "hysteria of war of aggression against the DPRK, escalating the military tension and confrontation." The nation's official communist website Uriminzokkiri, warns that "if war breaks out, it will lead to nuclear warfare and not be limited to the Korean Peninsula."
North Korea further demands the exercises be canceled saying, "the South Korean puppet warmongers must immediately cancel the provocative coastal live-fire drills planned on Yeonpyeong." The country considers any exercises that take place on Yeonpyeong Island, to be a violation of their territory.
According to the U.S. State Department, the exercises are part of regular drills between the U.S. and South Korea and are not provocative.
"These are routine exercises. There’s nothing provocative or unusual or threatening about these exercises. The North Koreans have been notified about what South Korea plans to do," said Philip J. Crowley, a spokesman for the State Department. The U.S. and South Korea have no plans to cancel the exercises.
This article originally appeared in Wikinews.