- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2013

The United States and South Korea have kicked off joint naval drills, in the face of rising tensions with North Korean leaders who have vowed a third nuclear test.

The drills will last three days and include live-fire exercises, as well as naval and submarine drills, according to NBC. North Korea media characterized the drills as a pre-emptive attack, NBC continued, and said that Worker’s Party leader Kim Jong-Un has sent out “important” guidelines to boost the nation’s military force.

Military analysts see those unspecified “guidelines” as North Korea’s way of vowing another nuclear test, NBC said.

“We assess that North Korea has almost finished preparations for conducting a nuclear test anytime and all that’s left is North Korea making a political decision” to do so, South Korea Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Monday, according to NBC.