Tensions rise on Korean Peninsula amid drills

2010-03-09 19:28 BJT


Tension is building on the Korean Peninsula, as South Korea and the US have begun their 11-day joint military exercises. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has voiced its strong protest to the drill.

South Korea and the US began their annual joint military drills on Monday, involving nearly 40-thousand troops.

The exercise has drawn anger from the DPRK, calling it a rehearsal for attack. Pyongyang says the country is fully ready for dialogue and war.

Pyongyang says the drills prove that the US has not changed its hostile policy towards the DPRK. The government says it will continue to boost nuclear capacity as long as US military threats continue.

But the US and South Korea argue the drills are purely defensive. Seoul says it is aimed at exercising how to deploy US reinforcements in an emergency on the Korean Peninsula.

Won Tae-Jae, spokesman of S. Korean Defense Ministry, said, "These military drills have been held annually and announced to the DPRK each time. The DPRK is very aware of the meaning of these drills. The South Korean government sees its statement as a usual reaction."

But not all South Koreans agree with their government. On Monday, some activists held a protest near a joint drill command center in Seoul.

You Yong-Jae, protest leader, said, "We urge both South Korea and the US authorities to stop the exercise, which is a drill to attack the DPRK, and we call on them to sign a peace agreement as soon as possible."

The drills come as world powers are pushing for the DPRK to return to the six-party nuclear talks.

Pyongyang warns the drills are chilling recent efforts about denuclearizing the peninsula, saying any talks would naturally come to a standstill.

Editor: Liu Fang | Source: CCTV.com