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DPRK Slams US, Japan over Naval Drill

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday lashed out at the United States and Japan over Japan's plan to sponsor a joint naval exercise with members of the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in October.

"The joint naval exercise is a product of the Bush administration's sinister attempt to boost its policy to isolate and blockade the DPRK," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

US President George W. Bush announced the initiative in Krakov, Poland, last May. It called for an international agreement on seizing and searching planes and ships suspected of shipping illegal weapons or missile technology.

Japan announced Tuesday that it will host a multinational marine exercise in waters off Tokyo Bay in October for intercepting weapons of mass destruction.

The spokesman accused Japan of not abiding by the Pyongyang Declaration between the DPRK and Japan, in which both sides committed themselves not to take any action threatening each other's security.

"The double-faced attitude of the Japanese authorities only heightens the vigilance among service people and the people of the DPRK," the spokesman said.

By staging this exercise in waters close to the DPRK, the United States wants to "demonstrate" the international cooperation against the DPRK, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said Pyongyang would regard any sanctions and blockade against the DPRK as a provocation of war.

(Xinhua News Agency August 8,2004)

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