Pyongyang, Mar. 9 (ANI): North Korea has warned that it is "fully combat ready" to retaliate against any attempt to thwart off its planned satellite launch.
"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," said the statement, carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.
With the US and South Korea moving tens of thousands of troops along with its border, N Korea condemned the move as preparations for an invasion, the Daily Express reported.
The joint drills across South Korea began as concerns mounted that Pyongyang could be gearing up to test-fire a long-range missile capable of reaching US territory.
"If the enemies recklessly opt for intercepting our satellite, our revolutionary armed forces will launch without hesitation a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds of the US and Japanese aggressors," the general staff of the North's military said.
In the run-up to the drills, the North has also stepped up its war rhetoric. Claiming the manoeuvres pose grave threats to its security, the North last week threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace.
North Korea says what it plans to launch is a communications satellite, but neighboring governments believe it is a cover for a missile test.
Reports have suggested that the US and Japan may shoot down a North Korean missile if it was deemed necessary.
The North's military also ordered all personnel to "be fully combat ready" so that they could "deal merciless retaliatory blows" at the enemy, KCNA said in a separate dispatch. (ANI)