North Korea condems U.S.-South Korea military exercise

As the United States and South Korea began a massive joint military exercise on Tuesday, North Korea condemned the maneuvers as provocative and warn that an "all-out war" could erupt.
The two allies described the 10 day Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise as routine and defensive. During the exercise, the two countries will simulate the detection and destruction of North Korean missiles, atomic bombs and chemical weapons, AFP reports.
More than 530,000 troops are taking part in the exercise, including close to 3,000 military personnel from the United States and other bases around the Pacific region.
"We are applying lessons learned out of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those garnered by the alliance's recent experiences with North Korean provocations on the peninsula and past exercises," U.S. General James D. Thurman, commander of the U.S.-South Korea Combined Forces Command, said, according to AFP.
North Korea habitually terms these joint exercises as rehearsal for invasion and launches its own counter-exercises.
"The Korean peninsula is faced with the worst crisis ever," the North's ruling communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary, according to AFP. "An all-out war can be triggered by any accidents. The U.S. war-mongers are planning to carry out a realistic war drill to remove our nuclear facilities with a mobile unit led by the U.S. 20th Support Command which was sent to Iraq to find and disable weapons of mass destruction. Our military and the people will not sit idle as U.S. imperialists mobilize massive military forces and threaten our sovereign rights."
Professor Yang Moo-Jin, of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said that despite its criticism of the exercise, the North was unlikely to escalate tensions.
"The North is unlikely to raise tension at a time when diplomatic efforts are underway to resume dialogue," Yang said, according to AFP.
Multiple diplomatic efforts have been ongoing to resume stalled disarmament talks by six parties involving China, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea, and the United States.