"The Trump group's declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against the DPRK ... is a reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war," according to a report in Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
"The Korean People's Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies. It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted," the report continued.
The report prompted a response from China's Global Times, which criticized the upcoming military drills in an op-ed.
"The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response," it said. "If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise."
There has been no official response from President Donald Trump, the White House and Pentagon agree that military exercises shall continue as scheduled.
“There’s a lot we can do (through diplomacy) to bring the tension down without undermining the security of South Korea or U.S.,” said Robert S. Ross, a Boston College political science professor. “We can do these things quietly without suggesting you’re reducing our opposition to North Korea’s nuclear program.”
Social media buzzed with the news of North Korea's renewed threats.
What if he declares nuclear war on North Korea and then deletes his tweet? Would nuclear war be cancelled? Asking for a friend.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 19, 2017
Diplomacy is dragging time hoping for kim to stop which he never will....the more time u give the more dangerous he becomes..— HowTo DIY Electronic (@HowToDIYproject) August 21, 2017
Considering Kim a boy who cried wolf is dangerous. But NK has been doing this for years and nothing happened. Take it w/ a grain of salt— Pho-k Boi (@SugoiYordle) August 21, 2017
Tensions between the U.S. and the rogue nation have flared in the wake of a new U.S. intelligence assessment which concluded that North Korea has built a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on top of a ballistic missile. Following the report, President Trump promised the U.S. would meet North Korea with "fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
Trump’s statement was not vetted through State Department channels, according to one official; hours later, North Korea announced it was considering an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to the American military’s most strategic base in the Pacific and entertaining the idea of hitting the U.S. mainland with preemptive strikes. North Korea later walked back on its threat.