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North Korea: US can not dodge 'merciless strike'

21 August, 2017, 05:49 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

"The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won't evolve into actual fighting", said an editorial carried by the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

Thousands of troops will take part in 10 days of military simulations, created to prepare American and South Korean forces for conflict with North Korea, amid heightened tensions in the peninsula.

It added: "Reckless and wild acts of the United States can accelerate its final ruin".

President Donald Trump has warned that North Korea will face "fire and fury" if it threatens the United States.

But that possibility worries some, who say it would send the wrong message to both North Korea and the South, where there are fears that the North's advancing nuclear capabilities may eventually undermine a decades-long alliance with the US.

The situation has added to pressure on the US and South Korea to stop the military drills. China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, called for the suspension of the annual exercises in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear programme.

He said that the United Kingdom should not be taking part in any "joint exercises" in the region with the UK's strategic partners.




Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford in Seoul.

The US has about 28,000 troops in South Korea.

Both US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that the US was keeping military options on the table in dealing with North Korea. Many of them will be joining thousands of South Korean forces in the exercises.

Pedestrians walk past a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a street broadcasting news of North Korea's latest missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, 04 July 2017.

A reduction in US troops taking part in a joint exercise with South Korean forces this year simply reflects a need for fewer personnel and is not because of tensions with North Korea, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday. About 17,500 US service members will participate, with about 3,000 coming from installations outside South Korea, the officials said.

Meanwhile, North Korea's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary that the USA and South Korea are staging an exercise to try to wage a nuclear war around the Korean Peninsula, warning, "the North Korean army is placing the South Korean military in its crosshairs".

They can also sometimes involve troops from other allies - last year's UFG saw the participation of nine other countries including the UK, Australia, Denmark and the Philippines.

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