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N.K. media urges S. Korea, U.S. to stop joint military drills, withdraw American troops

North Korea 16:06 August 14, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Saturday urged South Korea and the United States to stop their joint military exercise and pull American troops out of the South if the South wants peace on the peninsula.

Tongil Sinbo, a North Korean weekly, renewed the call in a commentary, denouncing the military drill as "an exercise taking place under the collusion with foreign forces."

"It's an operation aimed at preemptively striking our republic and a preliminary training for the complete execution of a nuclear war," the commentary read.

"It is the sentiment of the South Korean public believing that peace is guaranteed with the cessation of various practices of wars of aggression in the South, and the removal of the hostile policy by withdrawing America's aggression and its armed forces," it said.

The commentary came as the North has ramped up its criticism over the allies' annual military exercise and renewed the demand for the withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. Forces Korea stationed in the South in recent statements by its leadership.

Early this month, Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned the drills would dampen the conciliatory mood created in the wake of the restoration of the communication lines, saying that it is "imperative for the U.S. to withdraw its aggression troops and war hardware deployed in South Korea."

Kim Yong-chol, head of the North's United Front Department, vowed to make South Korea and the U.S. "pay dearly" for kicking off their summertime exercise this month.

North Korea has long denounced Seoul and Washington's military drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North. The allies say that the exercises are defensive in nature.

U.S. artillery and military vehicles are on stand by at Camp Casey in Dongducheon, north of Seoul, on Aug. 5, 2021. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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