On Friday, North Korea strongly criticized the arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier, at a South Korean port.
Pyongyang denounced the move as a significant escalation of preparations for a potential nuclear conflict by the United States.
North Korea’s state media outlet KCNA condemned the drills, which simulated the interception of North Korean smuggling vessels, calling it an “undisguised military provocation”.
The US scheme for nuclear attack on the DPRK and its implementation have reached the most serious phase of systematisation and visualisation,” said the KCNA on Friday.
“It is as clear as noonday what result will be brought to the Korean peninsula, where huge armed forces and nuclear weapons are standing in confrontation with one another, even if a spark is produced,” it added.
US carrier in South Korea
US nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is currently stationed in Busan, South Korea, following a recent two-day joint maritime exercise with ships from South Korea and Japan, reports AFP.
The exercise follows the most recent edition of the annual US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom exercises. Pyongyang, as per the news agency, perceives the US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom exercises as a rehearsal for invasion.
Additional drills are scheduled for next week, announced Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has actively sought to improve historically strained relations with Japan, a former colonial ruler of the country, even as diplomatic efforts remain stalled.
In August, President Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida engaged in a three-way summit hosted by US President Joe Biden at Camp David, where they agreed on a multi-year plan of regular joint exercises.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had previously labelled the burgeoning defence alliance between South Korea, Japan, and the United States as “the worst actual threat, not threatening rhetoric or an imaginary entity” faced by the isolated nation.