North Korea threatened on Saturday to "counter the U.S." if the United States holds joint military exercises with South Korea, saying the drills would harm reconciliation efforts on the peninsula.
The United States is due to start joint exercises in early April, a South Korean presidential security adviser said this week according to Yonhap news agency — the latest in a series of drills that the north has regularly described as a threat.
"If the U.S. finally holds joint military exercises while keeping sanctions on the DPRK, the DPRK will counter the U.S. by its own mode of counteraction and the U.S. will be made to own all responsibilities for the ensuing consequences," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said in its commentary.
The DPRK is the acronym of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
On Feb. 23, the United States said it was imposing its largest package of sanctions to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs. President Donald Trump warned of a "phase two" that could be"very, very unfortunate for the world" if the steps did not work.
KCNA accused Washington of trying to"bring dark clouds of a war to hang over the Korean peninsula."
"The U.S. is swimming against the trend for the detente on the Korean peninsula," KCNA said.
South Korea plans to send a special envoy to North Korea in response to an invitation from leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Trump in a phone call on Thursday.
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last month gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after sharply rising tensions over the North's missile program.