S Korea rejects North’s call to halt military drills

Seoul dismisses North Korea’s call for halting military exercises with United States

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

South Korean army soldiers salute during a military ceremony

South Korean Defence Ministry said on Thursday that the joint military exercises with the United States only aims defensive purposes, rejecting North Korea’s call for suspension.

The North, on Wednesday, urged Seoul and its allies to halt the military drills as they are “provocative.”

"Talks are possible and many other problems can be solved if the US ditches provocative behaviors like joint military drills and decide to go another path," said the North Korea’s Defence Ministry in a statement.

The statement came shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's announcement that the North was open for "highest-level" talks with Seoul, but only on the condition that the South stops annual joint military exercises with the US.

South Korea, a strong ally of the US, however has made it clear that it will not stop its annual military exercises.

"Joint military drills between South Korea and the US are something that are annual and defensive," said South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok.

"It is a must-have to prepare against North Korea's [potential] invasion of the South," he added.

North Korean officials have often criticised the allies’ joint drills, calling them as preparations to invade their country.

TRTWorld and agencies