North Korea hits out at US over military drills
AFP | August 30 2005
North Korea's official media lashed out at the United States and South Korea on Tuesday for conducting joint military exercises it blamed for delaying a resumption of six-party talks.
On Monday a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the military drills had forced Pyongyang to put back the resumption of talks until the week of September 12. The talks had originally been set to resume this week.
"If the US truly wants a negotiated peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, it should stop at once its military blackmail against the DPRK (Noth Korea)," the official Minju Joson newspaper said. "Dialogue and war exercises can never go together."
The 12-day annual military exercises dubbed Ulji Focus Lens will end on September 2 after mobilising an unspecified number of South Korean soldiers and about 10,000 US troops for computer-simulated drills.
The US military says the drills are defensive in nature but North Korea insists they are preparations for an invasion of the North.
The newspaper commentary also accused the South Korean military of committing "an unpardonable treacherous act" by joining US forces for the drill.
A fourth round of negotiations on Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia broke up on August 7 after 13 days of intense and sometimes fiery discussions.
All six sides had agreed to meet again this week, after the talks recessed at an apparent impasse over the North's demand to be allowed to use nuclear power for peaceful electricity generation -- something Washington rejected