North Korea has released a statement protesting upcoming military drills run by South Korea and the United States this week, citing them as a direct provocation. The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said on state-run media, "We sternly warn the U.S. and the South Korean authorities to stop the dangerous military exercises which may push the situation on the peninsula and the north-south ties to a catastrophe."

The situation echoes similar threats that the isolated nation made a year ago when it threatened to test its nuclear weapons against the United States in response to military drills in South Korea and increased economic sanctions in regard to its nuclear capabilities.

While the threats aren't anything new—you could pretty much set your watch by them at this point—events like Kim Jong-un's ordering the execution of his uncle has hinted at a more aggressive style of leadership than in the past. The 30,000 or so U.S. troops stationed in South Korea will likely continue to be on high alertSo far, North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, the most recent being last February.

"If North Korea actually commits military aggression at the excuse of what is a normal exerciseour military will mercilessly and decisively punish them," a spokesman for South Korea's Defence Ministry said.