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N.K. issues white paper condemning Seoul-Washington military exercises

All Headlines 11:18 September 02, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's military on Friday released a white paper condemning South Korea and the United States for conducting joint military exercises, calling it a product of Washington's "hideous" hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

A mission of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at the truce village of Panmunjom said that the allies' annual military drills are nothing more than exercises to prepare for a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The Seoul-Washington annual military drills are set to wrap up the two-week run on Friday, and have long been denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for northern invasion.

"The white paper branded the joint military exercises as a direct product of the hideous hostile policy toward the DPRK pursued by the U.S. and its military strategy," the KCNA said.

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

South Korean Navy patrol craft and U.S. choppers carry out a training exercise in waters off the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

It is rare for the North's military to issue a white paper denouncing the military drills as they usually make public their stance through other means such as statements or open letters.

North Korea has said that its nuclear weapons program serves as a deterrence against what it called Washington's hostile policy.

"If they persistently resort to military exercises and other nuclear war exercises against the DPRK, they will face a most merciless and miserable end," the white paper said.

Tensions are running high on the divided peninsula as North Korea threatens to conduct another nuclear test and launch additional ballistic missiles.

Last week, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile toward Japan, and marked the longest flight by such a missile during a test.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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