The United States refused to describe the joint military exercises with South Korea, which took place on the Korean peninsula, as a provocation to North Korea, at a time when it agreed with the Philippines to establish new military bases on its territory.

A spokesman for the US National Security Council said that Washington has no hostile intent towards Pyongyang, and that the United States seeks serious diplomacy to address all issues of concern to the region.

The US comment came after North Korea attacked the recent maneuvers conducted by the United States with its allies, and said it would spark an all-out confrontation.

Pyongyang also hinted that its response would be severe towards any US military move, which might include the use of overwhelming nuclear force.

New US military bases in the Philippines

On the other hand, the United States and the Philippines announced Thursday that they had concluded an agreement allowing American soldiers to use 4 additional bases in this Southeast Asian country, which, like its old ally, seeks to counter the military rise of China.

Philippine and US officials said in a joint statement that Washington and Manila agreed to expand an existing agreement to include 4 new sites "in strategic regions of the country."

"The Philippine-US alliance has withstood the test and remains resilient. We look forward to the opportunities these new locations will provide to expand our cooperation together," the two statements said.

The agreement was concluded during a visit by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to the capital, Manila, while the two countries are seeking to mend relations that were severed in recent years by former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who favored rapprochement with China, while the new administration of President Ferdinand Marcos seems keen to reverse this trend.

"The Philippines and the United States are proud to announce their plans to accelerate full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, by agreeing to identify 4 new agreed upon locations in strategic regions of the country," the statement said.

The two countries have a decades-old security alliance that includes a mutual defense treaty and an enhanced defense cooperation agreement signed in 2014 that allows US forces to be stationed at 5 Philippine bases, including those near disputed waters.

The agreement also allows the US military to store defense equipment and supplies at those bases.

Washington had announced the allocation of more than 82 million dollars for infrastructure investments in the five current sites under the agreement.

For its part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that there is a strong military deployment in the region that may lead to an increase in tension.

She added that the United States adheres to the mentality of the days of the Cold War and the strengthening of military deployment in the region.