North Korea denounces US-South Korean drills

March 3rd, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by admin  

Seoul, March 3 (DPA) North Korea warned Monday it will take necessary counter-measures in response to the ongoing joint military exercises by South Korea and the US that are also hindering the six-party efforts to denuclearise the communist nation. “They are, to all intents and purposes, manoeuvres for a nuclear war to seize North Korea by force of arms in the light of their scale and nature,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea routinely denounces the annual joint military exercises.

“Such nuclear threats and blackmail do not work on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) but will only put a brake on the process of the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” the spokesman said, adding that North Korea will take necessary counter-measures, “including those to further bolster all its deterrent forces”.

In an agreement with South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia, North Korea had said it would dismantle key nuclear facilities and provide a list of all its nuclear programmes by the end of 2007 in return for economic aid.

However, the US says North Korea has not provided a full list of nuclear programmes, stalling the process.

The joint six-day military exercises to deter potential military threats from North Korea started Sunday. Code-named “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” there are 650,000 South Korean troops and about 12,000 US forces stationed in South Korea and 6,000 reinforcements from the US and Pacific bases participating.

The San Diego-based USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and the nuclear-powered submarine USS Ohio are part of the drill.

Incidentally, a US orchestra, New York Philharmonic, performed in North Korea for the fist time last week, sparking hopes for better relations between the two countries.

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