Read and watch more about North Korea in "March Madness," a VICE News special section on the Hermit Kingdom.
North Korea has denounced the annual military drills between the United States and South Korea that are scheduled to begin on Monday, and warned that its military could "beat up the US mainland at any time."
Some 300,000 South Korean forces and 15,000 of their American counterparts are expected to take part in the yearly exercises, according to the South's Yonhap news agency. This would make 2016 the largest combined force to participate in the so-called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises, Yonhap said.
Pyongyang regularly protests the drills, which they say are rehearsals for an impending war. North Korean state media has recently stepped up its threats amid a period of increased tension on the Korean peninsula.
On Sunday, a statement read on the North's state-controlled KRT television station threatened retaliation for the drills.
"We have cutting-edge attack methods to beat up the U.S. mainland at anytime and from anywhere," the KRT news reader said. "Also we have diligently developed and deployed Juche (self-reliant) weapons in the era of the Workers' Party of Korea, which enables us to fire strong artilleries."
"If a war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, the US will be held accountable for igniting the war by mobilizing their massive strategic means and war hardware here, regardless of who mounted a preemptive attack," the newsreader said.
On Friday, the North's state media said its leader, Kim Jong-un, had ordered its military to be in a "preemptive attack" mode, including the use of nuclear weapons, in the face of growing threats from its enemies.
The comments marked a further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula after the UN Security Council imposed harsh new sanctions on the isolated state. North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and launched a satellite into orbit using banned ballistic missile technology last month.
The Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military drills in South Korea are scheduled to last until April 30.
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