U.S. and South Korea to hold military
drills despite protest from Pyongyang
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[February 10, 2014]
SEOUL (Reuters) — The United States
and South Korea will hold their annual joint military drills from
February 24 to April 18, the combined forces command that oversees the
allies said on Monday, and Pyongyang had been notified of the plan.
The announcement comes after a nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bomber
sortie last week prompted angry reactions from North Korea, which
threatened to reconsider plans for reunions of families separated
during the 1950-53 Korean War.
"The United Nations Command has informed the Korean People's Army in
North Korea through their Panmunjom mission about both Key Resolve
and Foal Eagle exercise dates and the non-provocative nature of this
training," the command said in a statement.
North Korea has rescinded a recent invitation to U.S. special envoy
Robert King to discuss the release of imprisoned American missionary
Kenneth Bae for the second time after it withdrew King's planned
trip in August.
It was not clear whether the latest withdrawal of the invitation was
the result of the decision by the United States and South Korea to
go ahead with the drills.
North Korea has called for the cancellation of the drills,
describing them as a prelude to war and warning the exercise could
imperil the family reunion plan.
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Last year, North Korea threatened nuclear attacks against the United
States and its allies at the height of tensions coinciding with the
U.S. and South Korean drills.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; editing by Jack Kim and Paul Tait)
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