North Korea has stepped up its angry rhetoric, saying it is entering a “state of war” with the South.
Pyongyang has been threatening to attack its neighbour and US military bases since Seoul and Washington started joint drills earlier this month.
“North Korea’s continuing threats are never acceptable, as they are harming peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” said Kim Min-seok, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman.
“Our recent military exercises and the US strategic bombers’ deployment on the peninsula were defensive in nature, against North Korea’s possible provocations.”
Tensions have been running high in the region after the North launched a long-range rocket – condemned by the UN – and carried out a third nuclear test.
Pyongyang has been keen show images of strength and unity. But few believe it will risk starting an all-out conflict.
The North and the South have technically been at war for six decades, under an armistice that ended their conflict in the 1950s.