North warns against naval drill with U.S.

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North warns against naval drill with U.S.

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North Korea yesterday warned that it will strike back at any act of aggression against it during the joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States near the border islands in the Yellow Sea that begin this week.

South Korea and the U.S. plan to conduct a joint exercise from today to Friday to counter North Korean submarines in the Yellow Sea.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency denounced the drill as a “premeditated military provocation” against the North and said the Korean People’s Army will “promptly make merciless retaliatory strikes” against “the group of traitors.”

“In case just a single column of water is observed in its territorial waters, the KPA will promptly make merciless retaliatory strikes,” KCNA said.

The KCNA’s “open notice” advised all civilians on five border islands in waters off the west cost to evacuate to safe areas before the planned naval drills on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Saturday rejected South Korea’s offer to hold Red Cross talks on reunions of separated families, saying Seoul should first respond to its demand for an apology for not paying official respect over the death of former leader Kim Jong-il and for a promise to carry out previous summit agreements.

South Korea’s Red Cross proposed Tuesday that the two sides hold working-level talks on Feb. 20 to discuss reinstating reunions of family members separated since the 1950-53 Korean War and other humanitarian issues. Yonhap

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