North Korea: Don’t Hold Joint Exercise

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SEOUL, Aug. 13 (UPI) — A joint military exercise by South Korea and the United States could undermine possible peace talks, North Korea said, demanding the drills be canceled.

The annual joint drill, this year called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, starts Tuesday in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Earlier this week North Korea’s military delegation warned South Korean and U.S. officials to cancel the exercises, saying they would damage potential peace negotiations.

The drills this year will simulate destroying weapons of mass destruction.

South Korean military forces have remained on high alert in the region of the scheduled exercises since a North Korean artillery attack in November killed four people, two of them Marines, on Yeonpyeong Island.

Peace talks have been stalled for months and in July a North Korean diplomat met with U.S. officials in New York to find ways to restart them, the report said.

The New York meeting followed an earlier meeting between nuclear envoys of both countries on the sidelines of an Asian security conference in Indonesia.

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