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N. Korean media: Dialogue and war drills can't co-exist

All Headlines 16:23 May 17, 2018

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's media on Thursday repeated its rhetoric opposing joint military drills by South Korea and the United States, over which it abruptly cancelled planned talks with Seoul the previous day.

North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary that dialogue and war drills can never exist together on the Korean Peninsula.

"We'll make continued efforts to maintain and improve the current political situation. But indiscriminate drills for invasion of the North will never be tolerated," the commentary by an unidentified writer said.

N. Korean media: Dialogue and war drills can't co-exist - 1

The website ran the commentary after Pyongyang unilaterally canceled high-level talks with Seoul Wednesday and threatened to boycott a planned summit with the U.S. over the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and U.S. air forces.

Mentioning both F-22 stealth fighters participating in the Max Thunder and B-52 bombers, which will not be part of the drill, the commentary said, "The entry of the U.S. jets into South Korea's airspace for a rehearsal for invasion of the North is an obvious provocation to us."

The commentary seems to reflect Pyongyang's sensitivity to the deployment of strategic U.S. assets on the Korean Peninsula during the allies' military drills, according to North Korea watchers here.

Earlier Thursday, the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the North's Workers' Party, also condemned the Max Thunder drill as a "dangerous act of provocation that undermines the mood of detente."

"North and South Korea should refrain from military behaviors that threaten and provoke each other if both sides want to move towards peace and unification. Military drills plotting invasion of the North, which runs counter to the Panmunjom Declaration, will never be pardoned," the newspaper said, referring to the inter-Korean summit agreement reached on April 27.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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