North Korea says it is ready to launch a “sacred war,” accusing South Korea of exacerbating tensions on the peninsula.

The North’s state media reports that defense chief Kim Yong Chun made the remarks during a national meeting in Pyongyang on Thursday.

The Korean Central News Agency quotes Kim as saying that North Korea is “fully prepared to launch a sacred war” — and noting it has nuclear capabilities — because South Korea is deliberately pushing the peninsula to the brink of a war.

North Korea’s anger has been piqued this week by South Korea’s staging of military drills near a front-line island Pyongyang attacked last month. Ealier in the week, however, North Korea said it would not deign to respond to the provocation.

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