Two military drills planned for the next three months, which will involve South Korean and U.S. troops, have provoked a severe response from North Korea.
The drills, called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are routine drills carried out to bolster South Korea's preparedness against the likelihood of an invasion from the north.
"Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are unpardonable war hysteria kicked up by the hooligans to desecrate our mourning period and an unpardonable infringement upon our sovereignty and dignity," the statement said. "Now that a war has been declared against us, the army and people are firmly determined to counter it with a sacred war of our own style and protect the security of the nation and the peace of the country."
Yonhap News Agency reported North Korea denounces the routine drills as practice for the South's own invasion into the North, despite the North's track record of military provocations against the south.