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N Korea Urges US to Withhold Scheduled Military Exercise
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North Korea on Friday lashed out at the joint exercises scheduled for next spring between the United States and South Korea, saying such action will lead to serious consequences in resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.


"This (military exercise) is an outright challenge and an intolerable provocative act of pushing the situation to the phase of confrontation and war," said a spokesman of the official Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, responding to questions raised by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).


The spokesman also demanded that the US "unconditionally" cancel the exercise, warning that "such reckless war moves would only becloud the prospect of solving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and entail serious consequences."


"The reality goes to clearly prove that the US loudmouthed peace and end to the war are nothing but sophism intended to deceive North Korea," he added.


The spokesman said that North Korea would take the news of joint exercises seriously as it comes before the six-party talks due to resume next Monday.


A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced on Monday that the six-party talks aimed at seeking a solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue would be resumed in Beijing on December 18.


The top commander of the US forces stationed in South Korea said on Wednesday that the two countries would stage their largest-ever joint military exercises next spring.


The week-long exercise, dubbed Foal Eagle and the RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration), is one of about a dozen joint exercises held by the two allies annually.


The US and South Korea have conducted Foal Eagle since 1964 and the RSOI since 1994, and the two exercises have been held simultaneously since 2002.


(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2006)


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