US naval drills draw N Korea threat

Pyongyang threatens 'physical response' to joint military drills by South Korea and US.

    North Korea said the South Korea-US joint naval exercises posed a threat to the region [AFP]

    'Grave threat'

    "This move is not only a grave threat to peace and stability of the Korean peninsula but also to the region," Ri said of the military drills.

    in depth

     

    Q&A: Tensions on the Korean peninsula
      Your Views: North and South Korea
      Video: S Korea urged to toughen stance
      Video: S Korea vows action over sinking
      Focus: North Korea, a state of war
      Background: China's Korean balancing act 

    He said "there will be physical response against the threat imposed by the United States militarily."

    China has harshly criticised the military drills and launched its own naval exercises off its eastern coast.

    Calling the new US sanctions "hostile", North Korea said they must be reversed in exchange for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

    "The sanctions will deepen the hostile policy against the North," Ri said, urging the US to focus instead on resuming stalled six-party talks over the North's nuclear weapons programme and other issues.

    'Not a provocation'

    Speaking in Washington, PJ Crowley, spokesman for the US state department, said the planned military exercises with South Korea would go ahead.

    "It's a defensive exercise meant to improve our ability to work together as allies," Crowley told reporters. "They're not meant as a provocation."

    "Actions by North Korea, including the sinking of the Cheonan ... those kinds of provocative steps do in fact pose a threat to security and stability in the region," he added.

    South Korea and the US have said the North must admit responsibility for the attack on the Cheonan – which a South Korean-led investigation concluded was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine – before talks can resume.

    North Korea has denied any role in sinking the ship, and reiterated the point in bilateral talks on Thursday with Southeast Asian foreign ministers.

    After North Korea conducted its second nuclear test last year, the US and others pushed for the North to return to the negotiations, which include South Korea and regional powers China, Japan, the US and Russia.

    "If [the US and South Korea] are really interested in the denuclearisation of the peninsula, they should take the lead in helping establish the settings [for restarting talks] before they resume military drills," added Ri.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.