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US, S Korean war games an "outrage": N Korea

N Korea condemned the joint US-S Korean war games along the heavily fortified inter-Korean border during the Beijing talks.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2004 13:06 IST

North Korea condemned as an outrage Saturday joint American-South Korean war games conducted along the heavily fortified inter-Korean border during the nuclear crisis talks in Beijing.

"The arrogant outrage of the US and the South Korean authorities ... touches off serious apprehensions of the whole world," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The joint military exercises by some 6,000 US ground troops and 200 South Korea soldiers began last week. They are set to continue until March 5.

Six-party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis opened in Beijing on Wednesday and are expected to close Saturday.

"The war exercises now under way in shooting ranges in the area south of the Demilitarized Zone involved the US Second Infantry Division, military vehicles, helicopters and huge other military equipment as well as the South Korean army," KCNA said.

The US military said the routine field deployment dubbed Iron Artep take place twice yearly.

"This is a routine exercise that was planned in advance. It has nothing to do with the six-party talks," a US military spokesman said.

The United States stations 37,000 troops in South Korea under a 50-year-old bilateral treaty to deter North Korean aggression.

North Korea regularly calls for the withdrawal of US forces from the peninsula.

First Published: Feb 28, 2004 13:06 IST