North Korea threatens US, South Korea with 'merciless retaliation' over drills

 

North Korea has again aimed fiery rhetoric at the U.S. and South Korea, this time threatening "merciless retaliation" over ongoing joint military drills.

According to quotes published in North Korea's state-run KCNA outlet, the hermit regime says both the United States and South Korea should "take the whole responsibility for catastrophic results from (a) reckless war game." The drills began on Monday and will involve some 17,500 U.S. troops and 50,000 South Korean forces.

RELATED: A look at the anti-terror drills in South Korea

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Anti-terror drills in South Korea
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Anti-terror drills in South Korea
A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Soldiers participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police officers wearing gas masks participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A passenger takes a photograph of police officers wearing gas masks during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police officers wearing gas masks take part in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A South Korean policeman takes part in an anti-terror drill as part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Members of Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) take part in an anti-terror drill as a part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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While North Korea views the annual drills as preparation for invasion, the U.S. has described them as critical to maintaining readiness.

"A strong diplomatic effort backed by a strong military effort is key because credible combat power should be in support of diplomacy and not the other way around," commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, said during a news conference in South Korea.

The doomsday language out of Kim Jong Un's regime comes as a Pyongyang envoy said on Tuesday that North Korea's self-defensive nuclear deterrence arsenal will "never" be on the negotiating table.

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