North Korea said on Friday it would strike again at the South if a live-fire drill by Seoul on a disputed island went ahead, with an even stronger response than last month’s shelling that killed four people.
“The strike will play out a more serious situation than on November 23 in terms of the strength and scope of the strike,” KCNA (North Korean official news agency) said.
A leading South Korean defense analyst said he doubted the North would carry out its threat, which rattled financial markets, and South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the exercise planned for December 18-21 would go ahead.
China has avoided publicly condemning its long-time ally over the shelling and nuclear program, and instead pleaded with other powers to embrace fresh talks with North Korea.
Russia summoned the ambassadors of South Korea and the United States to express “extreme concern” and urged the two countries to halt the exercise to prevent “the further escalation of tensions,” the Russian the Foreign Ministry said.
Analysts say the North uses the threat of attacks and even nuclear conflict to win concessions such as food and economic aid at talks over its nuclear stockpile.