South Korea and the United States have agreed to stage a series of joint naval and air drills starting next week, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said Tuesday. The first joint exercise involving the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington will come July 25 in waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)
The joint military drill by the U.S. and South Korean army "is against the sovereignty of the DPRK ( Democratic People's Republic of Korea)", a DPRK spokesman told reporters Friday at a regional security forum in Hanoi.
"It is a threat to the Korean peninsula and the region of Asia as a whole, and the DPRK's position is there will be physical response to the threat imposed by the United States militarily," Ri Tong Il, spokesman for the DPRK delegation at the ASEAN Regional Forum, added.
Following the so-called "two plus two" security talks, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a joint press conference Wednesday that the U.S. will introduce new "country- specific" sanctions against the DPRK's procurement of nuclear materials.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who arrived on Monday for advance talks, finalized details of joint military drills with the defense minister Kim Tae-young.
The first joint exercise involving the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington will come on July 25 in waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, and is meant to deliver a "clear message" to the DPRK that provocations must be stopped, the ministers have said.
The UN Security Council on July 9 issued a statement over " Cheonan" warship case, unanimously deploring the attack on the South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors in March. The Council, however, stopped short of blaming the DPRK. Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the incident.
Meanwhile, China on Wednesday expressed concern over military exercises to be held by the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States in the Japan Sea.