Seoul: South Korea's military warned North Korea on Wednesday to halt all "provocations", saying its reckless actions would only speed up the "collapse of its dictatorial system."
The verbal volley comes a day after North Korea's military supreme command, angry over upcoming joint US-South Korean exercises, threatened to attack Seoul's presidential Blue House.
"We strongly urge North Korea to immediately halt provocative actions that are propelling it to destruction," the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
North Korea will face "stern punishment" if it ignored Seoul's warning, it said.
"North Korea must keep in mind that it will be responsible for all situations arising from its reckless provocations and we warn it will only speed up the collapse of its dictatorial system," it said.
Seoul and Washington will next month hold their largest-ever annual exercise in response to the North's recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Pyongyang habitually claims that the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise is a rehearsal for invasion while Seoul and Washington say it is purely defensive.
Tensions are high on the peninsula, with the United Nations considering tougher sanctions against the North to punish it for January's nuclear test and this month's rocket launch.
That came a step closer on Tuesday, when the US and China — Pyongyang's chief protector and only major ally -- said they had made progress in talks.
The South, in an unprecedented move, has shut down a Seoul-financed and jointly-run industrial estate in the North, saying it was helping finance its neighbour's military programmes.
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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2016 09:45:15 IST