North Korea slams next week's US-South Korea military exercises

23 August, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Chad Mckenzie

North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea military exercises are "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war, " CNN reported. Unlike the March exercise, UFG doesn't include live fire drills and happens concurrently with drills by local governments and civil servants to prepare South Korea's civil defenses. China and Russian Federation both support an idea known around here as freeze for freeze, suggesting that the USA and South Korea should freeze its annual exercises in exchange for Pyongyang halting or putting a pause on its nuclear and missile tests.

That sparked a grim warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North.

North's Korea's Central News Agency said the joint exercises would "further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a catastrophe", according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Seoul and Washington began annual war games on Monday, with South Korean President Moon Jae-In warning the nuclear-armed North not to use them as an excuse to perpetuate the "vicious cycle" of tensions.

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North Korea is issuing some fresh threats.

During last year's Ulchi drills, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile that flew about 310 miles in the longest flight by that type of weapon.

"This right now is an exercise to make certain that we're ready to defend South Korea and our allies over there", he added. However, the US and South Korea maintain they are purely defensive. Their unusual presence was meant to reaffirm the United States' commitment to defend its ally, officials in South Korea said. "So I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war". China backs that proposal.

GREENE: Yeah. So what exactly is North Korea saying about these exercises?

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Defence Minister Marise Payne said Australia had regularly played a small role in the annual war games since 2010. "Our office has not received official statement warranting any concern for imminent threat to Guam or the Marianas", said George Charfauros, the Homeland Security adviser, referring also to a neighboring island chain.

This year, the USA has scaled back the number of troops participating by about eight thousand, but Defense Secretary James Mattis says that's not because of heightened tensions.

B-1 bombers based at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam fly regular missions to the Korean Peninsula, which provokes outrage from the North.

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