North Korea demands pullout of US army from South Korea

Pyongyang, Sep 7 (IANS) North Korea on Monday demanded that US troops be pulled out from South Korea, saying US military presence in South Korea is a pretext for “ceaseless north-targeted saber-rattling”.

“Behind the Korean War and all armed conflicts and skirmishes that broke out on the Korean Peninsula for the past 70 years was the US that has deployed huge forces in South Korea to stage provocative actions,” Xinhua quoted a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman as saying in a statement.

The statement said the US-South Korea joint drills now “have become a main factor of aggravating confrontation and distrust” not only between North Korea and the US but between the two Koreas.

The statement accused the US, prompted by its “Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific” strategy, of periodically making provocative military actions to amp up tensions on the peninsula.

“Withdrawal of US forces from South Korea has become a requirement of the times, which brooks no further delay,” it said.

The agreement between the Koreas concluded on August 25 after 43 hours of talks to defuse escalating conflicts that demonstrated the Korean nation by itself is capable of overcoming the crisis and protecting peace.

The US’s claim that its military presence in South Korea ensures stability on the peninsula was no longer workable, it said.

Each year South Korea and the US conduct a number of joint military drills, including “Key Resolve”, “Foal Eagle” and “Ulchi Freedom Guardian”, which they claim to be of defensive nature.

Pyongyang says the annual war games aim for northward invasion.

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