The North Korean government says it is ready to launch a preemptive strike against South Korea in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. According to a statement released by North Korea’s General Staff, North Korea is ready ‘to launch a military operation aimed at liberating South Korea and reuniting the nation’.

It also says in the statement that any attempt of Seoul to invade North Korea will be met with an immediate strike, reports BBC Ukraine.

Interestingly, the North Korean Defense Ministry made a statement on March 7 saying it would launch a preemptive nuclear strike against South Korea if the exercises posed any military threat to the General Staff or Commander in Chief.

North Korea said it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on the night of February 6, a claim which was later confirmed by the US. It also announced plans to continue developing its nuclear potential. On the night of February 7, North Korea tested a ballistic missile, although it said in Pyongyang’s official statement that they simply launched a satellite.