DPRK denounces US, S Korea for joint naval drill

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has denounced the United States and South Korea for their planned joint naval exercise in the southern waters off the Korean Peninsula, the official KCNA news agency reported Saturday.

The upcoming drill defies Pyongyang's repeated appeals of late for ending political and military hostilities and improving north-south ties, the KCNA quoted an unnamed spokesperson of the National Defense Commission as saying.

"The planned reckless military actions ... are another open challenge to the sincere efforts of the army and people of the DPRK to defuse tension on the peninsula and create peaceful atmosphere," it said.

These moves, it added, will also "chill the desires of all Korean people to mend north-south relations and achieve national reconciliation."

Nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington on Friday arrived in South Korea's southern port city of Pusan for a five-day port call ahead of the planned exercise.

The drill will be carried out in southern and southwestern waters off the Korean Peninsula on July 16-21, and then on July 21-22 the naval forces of both countries will conduct a joint drill with Japan in southern waters off the South Korean resort Jeju Island, according to reports.

Citing the flight of a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over the South Korean western seas in February, when a family reunion was planned to be held between the north and south, the KCNA dispatch accuses the United States of always obstructing whenever there is a sign of improvement of inter-Korean relations.

The DPRK side also warned the United States that the more persistently it resorts to nuclear threat, the further the DPRK will strengthen its nuclear force, which it said is always ready to strike.

It also advised South Korea not to depend on Washington but seek a solution from the standpoint of putting the Korean nation first.

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