N. Korea slams US, S. Korea over joint military drill
SEOUL: North Korea hit out at the United States and South Korea yesterday over their planned joint military drill this month which it said was "an all-out war rehearsal" that could ignite conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
The allies will hold Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which is largely a computer-simulated exercise, from Aug. 20 to 31, to improve their combat-readiness amid high cross-border tensions. The allies describe their annual exercises as defensive and routine but the North habitually terms them a rehearsal for invasion and launches its own counter-exercises.
The US and South Korea "are going to stage again Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises for invading the DPRK at a time when they are becoming ever more undisguised in their hostile policy and confrontation racket against it," the North's Korean Central News Agency said.
"The army and people of the DPRK have grown stronger in their will to take revenge on the US," Pak Rim-Su, head of the North army mission at the border village of Panmunjom, said in a protest notice over the drill to General James D. Thurman, commander of US Forces Korea, quoted by KCNA.
The Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, also said the exercise demonstrated Washington's hostile attitude.
"This is a vivid expression of its hostile policy toward the (North) and a dangerous act to ignite a new war on the Korean Peninsula at any cost," said the commentary carried by KCNA, quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. "The joint military exercises are an all-out war rehearsal against the (North) from the viewpoint of military hardware and scale of forces to be involved in them and their program and nature," it said.
The drill will involve many of the 28,500 US troops stationed in the South as well as some 3,000 from abroad but there will be no field training, the US military has said.
Posted by: Steve White