N. Korea takes issues with naval exercise

May 14, 2013 at 12:22 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, May 14 (UPI) -- North Korea's official media, blaming the U.S.-South Korean naval exercise, said Tuesday tensions on the Korean Peninsula have not eased as assumed.

The Rodong Sinmun, the Worker's Party of Korea newspaper regarded as reflecting the state policy, said in an article monitored in South Korea that the naval exercise in the East Sea are making conditions on the peninsula precarious, Yonhap News reported.

North Korea under its unpredictable new leader Kim Jong Un had waged a relentless campaign of threats and issuing provocative statements against South Korea and the United States after the United Nations Security Council tightened sanctions over the North's Feb. 12 nuclear test. The threats even included preemptive nuclear strikes.

However, those threats have eased lately after warnings that any provocative act would invite a firm response.

"The state of tension on the Korean Peninsula have not lessened in the slightest," the North Korean newspaper said.

"The naval maneuvers involving the (U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz) carrier battle group are contributing to tensions in the region, particularly since it comes right after Seoul and Washington conducted the Foal Eagle military drills," it said.

The two-month Foal Eagle drills ended April and the current two-day naval exercise took place off the coast of Pohang, 233 miles southeast of Seoul, Yonhap reported.

The North Korean newspaper said the only reason full-scale war had not erupted in the face of military drills is because the North has confronted the U.S. nuclear threat head on.

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea) has been able to safeguard its sovereignty and peace because it built up its nuclear deterrence in the face of efforts by the U.S. to stifle the country," the article said.

The Feb. 12 nuclear test was the North's thirds since 2006. Yonhap quoted experts that while the size of the North's nuclear capability is unknown, it is estimated the country may have up to 10 devices.

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