The North’s National Defence Commission (NDC) described the exercise as “unpardonable war hysteria” and said its army and people would “foil” the US and South Korean moves with “a sacred war of our own style”.

The threat is the latest instance of Pyongyang taking a hostile tone towards Seoul since Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of the late leader Kim Jong-il, took over following the death of his father in December.

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