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S. Korea, U.S. inform N. Korea of military drills amid threat of military action

All Headlines 12:14 August 15, 2015

SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States informed North Korea on Saturday of their plan to carry out joint military drills starting next week amid Pyongyang's threats of retaliatory action.

The ROK-US Combined Forces Command and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises will take place from Aug. 17-28 to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula and improve their joint defense posture.

The United Nations Command informed the North of the plan through a loudspeaker at Panmunjom, the truce village inside the demilitarized zone on the inter-Korean border, officials said.

North Korea has long condemned the exercises as a rehearsal for war against it.

In a statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, an unnamed spokesman for the National Defense Commission threatened to take "the strongest military counteraction."

"The DPRK is the invincible power equipped with both latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world, including nuclear deterrence," the spokesman said. DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

This year's exercises will use more reconnaissance and intelligence assets to strengthen monitoring of North Korea amid its threats to strike South Korean loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border.

South Korea resumed anti-Pyongyang broadcasts on Aug. 10 in response to a land mine explosion inside the demilitarized zone that left two South Korean soldiers severely injured.

South Korea has accused the North of planting the mines in violation of the Armistice Agreement that effectively ended the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korea has denied the accusations.

hague@yna.co.kr
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