North Korea says US - South drill could hurt nuclear talks

Other News Materials 24 February 2008 13:05 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - North Korea has criticized a joint military drill between the United States and the South, saying the exercise will harm six-way talks for Pyongyang's denuclearization, the official media reported on Sunday.

The six-party negotiations, in which two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia are involved, have been stymied by North Korea's failure to meet a December 31 deadline to declare all its nuclear programs.

South Korea and the United States plan to hold military drills from March 2 to March 7, a Seoul defense ministry official said.

"The projected joint military war exercise of the U.S. runs counter to the six-party talks. Through the adventurous nuclear test war exercise the U.S. warmongers intend to pose a serious menace to the DPRK and spoil the atmosphere for dialogue," the official KCNA news agency quoted an article of the official Rodong Sinmun as saying.

The North's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Their aim is to ignite a war against the north when a chance presents itself, while wasting time under the pretext of the six-party talks. Leveling a gun at dialogue partner while talking about dialogue and improved relations is an act contrary to common sense and diplomatic practice," said the newspaper article, according to KCNA.

"If the U.S. warmongers opt for the war gamble against the DPRK, bringing the situation of the Korean Peninsula into the irreversible grave phase against peace, they will be wholly responsible for the ensuing consequences," it added.