SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea's resumption of small-scale military exercises with the United States has violated a recent deal aimed at reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula, the North Korean media said on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: South Korean marines parade during a military exercise as part of the annual joint military training called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pohang, South Korea, April 5, 2018. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji / Photo File
About 500 US and South Korean navies began military exercises last week. They were part of joint exercises indefinitely suspended in June, while Seoul and Washington focused on North Korea.
The Korean Maritime Exchange Program (KMEP) violated an agreement signed September 19 between North Korea and South Korea, calling for an end to "all hostile acts," said Rodong Sinmun, official newspaper of the North Korean party.
The two-week joint exercises are "directly opposed to the inter-Korean military agreement that promised to eliminate the practical threats of war and the hostile fundamental relations of the Korean peninsula," the paper said.
A spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Defense rejected critics of the North, saying that it was all about defensive drills involving small units the size of a battalion.
North Korean leaders Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump pledged to work towards denuclearization at their historic June summit in Singapore, where Trump promised to end joint military exercises between South Korea and the states. -United.
But the agreement was short on the details and the negotiations were not very advanced.
Last week, North Korea canceled a scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York "because they were not ready," said Friday the US ambassador to the United States. United Nations, Nikki Haley.
North Korean media mentioned the first meeting canceled on Saturday, when the Chosun Sinbo website announced that talks could still be productive. But he repeated North Korean warnings that the country could resume its nuclear weapons development if the US made no more concessions.
The biggest battle preparation war game ever held in and around Japan was also held last week, USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier joining Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship off Japan – another key player in the North Korea pressure.
"It is an anachronistic military maneuver to openly organize war drills for other terrorists, in which US naval forces residing in Japan also participate," said Rodong Sinmun.
Report by Jeongmin Kim; Edited by Darren Schuettler