SEOUL, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- North Korea denounced joint U.S.-South Korea naval exercises, calling the drills a "severe provocation" that is "pushing an already unstable Korean peninsula into the worst crisis."
Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Wednesday that a "pre-emptive strike on North Korea is a prelude to self-destruction," and condemned the "South Korean puppets" for "dragging" in the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, to the peninsula.
The "Invincible Spirit 2016" drills, to be held until Saturday, involve several other warships and aircraft and demonstrate preparedness for possible North Korea provocations, according to South Korea's military.
In its statement Wednesday North Korea also said the United States and South Korea practiced maneuvers that are part of retaliatory measures that include a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang.
"The main goal of the [South Korean] Park Geun-hye traitor faction's commotion-making with the United States is to be equipped with a pre-emptive strike system capability that can hit North Korea in order to stir up a war," the North Korean newspaper statement read.
Pyongyang added the state is now a "nuclear and rocket powerhouse" recognized around the world, and that U.S. military operations in the Pacific are within its "nuclear sights."
In a separate statement to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, North Korea claimed the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system is targeting China and Russia.
The North Korean embassy in Moscow said the United States' assertion that THAAD is for defense purposes is a cover for ulterior motives, and that the deterrent is actually targeting Beijing and Moscow.
The United States has denied claims THAAD's powerful radar is being used to monitor South Korea's neighbors and is being solely used to defend against potential North Korea attacks.