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N. Korea urges South to stop military drills

All Headlines 15:46 January 11, 2015

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea called on South Korea Sunday to stop all military exercises, including joint drills with the United States, if it really wants to improve inter-Korean ties.

"If the South is truly determined to improve inter-Korean relations through dialogue and negotiations ... it should stop all kinds of war schemes, including reckless military exercises carried out jointly with foreign forces," Minju Joson, North Korea's cabinet newspaper, said. "War rehearsals and dialogues cannot coexist."

The North Korean newspaper also warned that if Seoul sticks to the joint war rehearsals against the North, inter-Korean relations will get much worse and the South Korean government will have to take all the responsibility for it.

The Sunday warning is the latest in the North's recent desperate efforts to stop rounds of military exercises conducted annually between South Korea and the U.S.

On Saturday, the North proposed that it will temporarily suspend its nuclear test if the U.S. halts its joint military exercises with the South this year.

Washington squarely dismissed the proposal, saying it is an 'implicit threat' that inappropriately links routine U.S.-ROK drills to the possibility of a nuclear test.

The two allies conduct rounds of joint military exercises every year around the peninsula, starting with Key Resolve in late February. The key war game involves tens of thousands of troops from both sides.

The North made a similar call on the South last week to halt the joint drills.

The communist country has often warned against and lashed out at such joint drills, which it angrily calls a war rehearsal designed to invade the country.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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