SEOUL, 24th February 2016 (WAM) — South Korea lashed out at North Korea Wednesday for its latest threats against the South in the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s Presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk called the North’s threats “provocative rhetoric.”

North Korea “should be fully held responsible for all situations to be incurred by” its threats, Jeong was quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency as saying.

Tensions have spiked on the peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear test and long-range rocket launch in recent weeks.

The United States has sent four F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea and its nuclear-propelled USS North Carolina attack submarine has joined a training exercise in the East Sea with South Korea in the latest show of force against the North.

North Korea views the deployment of the U.S. strategic assets to South Korea as a threat and claimed it could be a part of plots to bring down the communist regime.

On Tuesday, North Korea threatened to launch a “pre-emptive strike” against any attempt to topple the Kim Jong-un regime. It said the targets of its military strikes are Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office, U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. mainland.