The USA and South Korea launched their large-scale joint military exercise on the south of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea qualified the event as war preparations and set its army on full alert.
Over 26,000 US military men participate in the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military drills. Over 12,000 of them were assigned from the US military contingent in the south of the Korean Peninsula; the rest arrived from abroad. South Korea provided several tens of thousands of servicemen for the drill. Nuclear-powered aircraft John C. Stennis and other navy ships will participate in the exercise.
The allied command informed North Korea about the time of the maneuvers that would end on March 20, as well as about the defensive nature of the drills that were held to strengthen the combat readiness of the troops.
In the meantime, North Korean officials described the drills between the United States and South Korea as a disguised events the goal of which was to prepare for an aggression. North Korea is currently working on the launch of its Kwangmyungsung-2 satellite, although experts say that the nation is going to test a ballistic missile that could be capable of reaching the US territory.
A chief military official of the Korean People’s Army warned the United States, South Korea and Japan that any attempts to intercept the launch of the NKorean satellite would immediately result in a counterstrike.
“We will respond to any act of interception of our satellite, which is solely meant for peaceful use, with immediate counter attacks with the use of the most powerful weapons. An interception of our peaceful satellite will obviously imply an act of war,” an anonymous NKorean military official said.
The North Korean army has been set on full alert in connection with the above-mentioned military drills. In addition, North Korea said that they could no longer guarantee the safety of South Korean passenger flights over their territory. "We don't know what kind of military clashes may occur due to the joint war exercise (between South Korea and the U.S. military)," an official said.