SEOUL - North Korea on Sunday warned the top US military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would "meet a miserable destruction" if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops, North Korean state media said.

Pak Rim-su, chief delegate of the North Korean military mission to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, gave the message by phone to Gen. James Thurman, the commander of the US Forces Korea, KCNA news agency said.

It came amid escalating tension on the divided Korean peninsula after the North's third nuclear test earlier this month, in defiance of UN resolutions, drew harsh international condemnation.

A direct message from the North's Panmunjom mission to the US commander is rare.

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