The Associated Press reports that "with tensions high and the United States and South Korea ready to hold their massive annual war games next week, which North Korea sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion, Pyongyang is warning it will respond to any violations of its territory with "merciless" retaliation, including strikes on Seoul and the U.S. mainland."
"'Military First' is the national motto of North Korea, which is ever wary of threats to its ruling regime and still technically at war with Washington and Seoul. Nuclear-armed and boasting the world's fourth-largest military, it is persistently seen as the biggest challenge to the security status quo in East Asia, an image it loves to promote and showcased in an elaborate military parade last October."
"The joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises are to begin March 7 and last more than a month. Tensions always go up when they do."