North Korea urges US to halt drills in South

A spokesman for North Korea`s powerful National Defence Commission said that the US must halt joint military drills under way in South Korea.

Pyongyang: A spokesman for North Korea`s powerful National Defence Commission said on Saturday that the United States must halt joint military drills under way in South Korea if it is serious about peace on the Korean peninsula.

Military officials convened a rare news conference at the People`s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang to denounce the joint US-South Korean war games as a threat to peace at a time when US and North Korean officials are holding talks aimed at improving relations.

The US and North Korea announced earlier in the week that Washington had agreed to provide 240,000 metric tons of food aid in exchange for a freeze of North Korea`s nuclear activities. A US envoy will meet with North Korean officials in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss the distribution of food, the state department said.

The deal is seen as a first step toward resuming six-nation nuclear disarmamentfor-aid talks suspended in 2009, and a tentative move toward improving the tense relationship between the wartime foes.
"Talks and military exercises are contradictory," Maj Gen Kwak Chol Hui, deputy director of the National Defence Commission`s policy department, said at a news conference.

Bureau Report

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