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North Korea is threatening what it is calls a 'pre-emptive nuclear strike' against Washington and South Korea.

FOX's Jon Decker has more from the White House:

In response to the start of annual military drills involving the U.S. and South Korea, North Korea threatened to turn Seoul and Washington into "a heap of ashes with a pre-emptive nuclear strike" - if they showed any signs of aggression toward the North's territory.

The warning from North Korea comes in the wake of a defection of a senior North Korean diplomat and a U.S. plan to place a defense missile system in South Korea.

South Korea and the U.S. said the drills with the U.S. are purely defensive in nature and they have no intention of invading Pyongyang.

At the White House, Jon Decker, FOX News.