North Korea has warned it will consider any pre-emptive strike by South Korea as declaration of war.

The North's military also said Sunday it will take prompt and decisive military action against any South Korean attempt to violate the North's dignity and sovereignty and would blow up major targets in the South.

The warning carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency is the latest salvo in a war of words, waged even as the rival nations show signs of stepping up cooperation after months of tension over the North's nuclear program.

It came in response to the South Korean defense minister recently saying that the South should launch a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if there is a clear indication the country is preparing a nuclear attack.