FUMING Kim Jong-un has slammed the West for deploying warships, planes and thousands of troops amid fears the tyrant will detonate a nuke.
The war games from June 29 to August 4 will involve 26 nations, 38 warships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 troops.
The forces “will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces”.
But North Korea has blasted the US-led joint exercise, claiming the West is destablising the Korean Peninsula and ramping up the risk of military conflict.
Ri Myong-hak, from North Korea’s state-run Institute for Disarmament and Peace, said: “Due to the aggressive and hegemonic Indo-Pacific strategy of the US, the region is being exposed to the constant danger of military conflicts.
“This, in turn, is of negative influence to the Korean Peninsula.”
He slammed the US for waging “war exercises” in the Pacific Ocean on more than 10 occasions this year, Yonhap News reports.
“The world should discern who is the real culprit of violating peace and remain vigilant about the military moves of the US,” he said in a post on the foreign ministry’s website.
This year’s Rim of the Pacific is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
South Korea, the US and Japan also plan to carry out missile warning exercises and ballistic missile search and tracking exercises near Hawaii in early August to counter North Korea’s evolving missile threats.
South Korea reportedly said the drills could be held in connection to the RIMPAC exercise – but would not comment on any specific date.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Moon Hong-sik said: “The Korean Peninsula security environment is seeing a significantly heightening North Korean nuclear and missile threat.
“So we have decided that it’s time the three countries publicize the exercises that we have been conducting in response.”
It comes after Kim issued a chilling warning to the West as he prepares to fire a nuke at any moment.
The US vowed to “respond quickly” with allies should Kim press ahead with a nuclear bomb test.
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said North Korea has now completed preparations for a new nuke drill – and that only a political decision from the ruler could halt it.
On Sunday, North Korea test-fired what appeared to be artillery shells toward the sea, according to South Korea’s military – days after Kim called for greater defence capability to cope with outside threats.
Kim has conducted more missile launches so far this year than in any other previous year in an alarming warning to Seoul and Washington.
Its forward-deployed long-range artillery guns are a serious security threat to South Korea’s populous metropolitan region, which is only 25-30 miles from the border with the North.
Earlier this month, North Korea fired eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations at the same time as Kim boasted that he would “shake the world” with yet more missile tests.
Analysts have warned Kim could speed up nuclear testing plans to distract North Korea’s population from the disastrous Covid outbreak.