SEOUL - North Korea on Tuesday accused South Korean President Park Geun-Hye of provocative war-mongering a day after Seoul launched an annual military drill with the United States.
Rather than criticising the joint exercise itself - as it has often done in the past - the North focused its anger on comments Park made at a meeting of her National Security Council that coincided with the start of the drill Monday.
At the meeting, held in an underground bunker, Park made it clear that South Korea should not allow its guard to drop despite a recent easing of tensions with the North.
"No matter how peaceful things are, a crisis would come if we forget about war," Park said.
"It is very important to ensure firm security preparedness in any circumstances," she added.
The 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise is a largely computer-simulated drill that plays out the scenario of a North Korean invasion.
Pyongyang has bitterly condemned the exercise in the past, but has been muted in its criticism this year following a series of recent breakthroughs in North-South talks on cross-border projects.
Tuesday's denunciation by the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Park's comments amounted to an "agitation for extreme confrontation" and poured "cold water" on the recent efforts at reconciliation.