North Korea denounces joint US, South Korea military drills
(dpa) - North Korea warned Monday it will take necessary countermeasures in response to ongoing joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States that are also hindering six-party efforts to denuclearize the communist nation.
"They are, to all intents and purposes, maneuvers for a nuclear war to seize the DPRK by force of arms in light of their scale and nature," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the North's official name.
North Korea routinely denounces the annual joint military exercises.
"Such nuclear threats and blackmail do not work on the DPRK but will only put a brake on the process of the denuclearization the Korean Peninsula," the spokesman said, adding that North Korea will take necessary countermeasures, "including those to further bolster all its deterrent forces."
In an agreement with South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia, North Korea 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 6-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.
Last week the New York Philharmonic was the first US orchestra to perform in North Korea, sparking hopes for better relations between the two countries.