North Korea on Monday warned that any attempt to intercept its satellite launched for "peaceful purpose" would result in a war against the US, South Korea and Japan.
"We will retaliate any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counter strikes by the most powerful military means," a spokesman for the Korean People's Army (KPA) was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The warning came after the US and South Korea began a joint military excercise which is expected to last for 12 days.
The spokesman issued a three-points statement, reiterating an "all-out confrontation" against South Korea and Japan, which he called the puppets of the US who hatched plots to intercept his country's satellite.
The communist country recently announced that it was in the advanced stages of launching a communications satellite for peaceful purpose. But the US and South Korea believe the satellite will be a cover for the test-fire of a ballistic missile Taepodong-2.
The missile is believed to have a maximum estimated range of 6,700 km and designed to carry a nuclear warhead that could hit targets on the US territory.
Tensions between the two Koreas have escalated since South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak began taking a harder line approach on taking office a year ago.
In January, Pyongyang scrapped all peace agreements with the Seoul over its decision to link bilateral aid to progress on denuclearisation.
On Friday, the Pyongyang announced that it could no longer guarantee the safety of commercial flights through airspace it controls off the east coast.