US warned over military exercises by North Korea

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The Independent Online

North Korea warned the US yesterday that imposing fresh sanctions and holding military exercises with South Korea this weekend would endanger the region and destroy hopes for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

The remarks preceded today's Asian security meeting in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. It will be attended by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and top diplomats from both Koreas. This weekend's joint exercises are the first overt military response to what Seoul claims was a North Korean attack in March that sunk a naval vessel, killing 46 South Korean sailors. The North has denied responsibility. "If the US is really interested in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, it should halt the military exercises and sanctions that destroy the mood for dialogue," said Ri Tong Il, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, the US said it would impose sanctions to stifle the North's nuclear ambitions.