Koreas: North Censures Planned US-South Military Drills
By Staff, Agencies
North Korea strongly denounced Washington for plans to conduct a joint military exercise with Seoul next month, as efforts to resume denuclearization negotiations hit numerous impasses.
Kwon Jong Gun at the North's foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency Wednesday that the announcement was equivalent to a "declaration for confrontation" that could jeopardize the diplomatic process.
"We have stressed on several occasions that the joint military drills will force us to reconsider the important steps that we have already taken," Kwon said, adding, "Our patience is reaching an uppermost limit."
Last year, Washington and Seoul canceled the combined air exercise known as Vigilant Ace amid a diplomatic thaw with the North, which considers them a rehearsal for invasion.
But Pentagon spokesman David Eastburn said this week that the US had "no plans to skip upcoming combined exercises" this year.
Army Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, also said Tuesday in Washington that “there were no plans to skip upcoming combined exercises.”
“We are proceeding with the Combined Flying Training Event as planned.”
The Yonhap News Agency citing some South Korean officials said the drills will be conducted at a smaller scale compared with previous years.