Monday, August 15, 2005

U.S.A. & South Korea War Games Prelude To War?

North Korea's military said on Saturday war games by South Korea and United States were a prelude to a U.S. military attack and a tactic to compel it to accept U.S. terms in six-party talks on its nuclear program.
The North's comments were the first since the six-country talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions went into a three-week recess on August 7. "Its brigandish aim is to wind up its preparations for preemptive attack on the DPRK and drive the situation on the peninsula to an extreme pitch of tension," the North's official KCNA news agency quoted an unnamed spokesman of the North Korean army as saying, referring to the drills. DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But South Korean officials say the exercises are largely computer-simulated drills to test U.S. and South Korean readiness for military emergencies on the Korean peninsula. They begin later this month and will not involve any mobilization of forces. South and North Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia broke from the talks after a rare series of intense negotiations over two weeks in Beijing. The talks are scheduled to resume in the week of August 29. The drills are also designed to "force the DPRK to accept the unjust demands raised by the U.S. at the six-party talks," the North Korean army spokesman was quoted as saying. North Korea insisted at the six-party talks on retaining the right to operate a civilian nuclear program.
Washington wants Pyongyang to forswear all nuclear programs in return for energy aid and security guarantees. "The U.S. side's arrogant action only bars the KPA from expecting anything from the dialogue with the U.S. and reinforces its correct judgment that it is the only way of defending the country and its sovereignty and system to build up deterrence for self-defense," the spokesman was quoted as saying. KPS stands for the Korean People's Army, which maintains the majority of its 1.2 million troops close to the border. At a senior military officers' meeting on Friday, South and North Korea failed to reach agreement on setting up a meeting of generals from the two sides to ease military tensions. In a separate KCNA report, the North said it was "not suitable" for such a meeting to take place because of the military drills by the U.S. and South Korea.