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Planned US-ROK military drill to threaten working-level negotiations, DPRK warns

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-07-17 09:50
ROK protesters participate in a rally against US-ROK military exercises, near the US embassy in Seoul, ROK, Feb 19, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

PYONGYANG -- Pyongyang might end the scheduled working-level negotiations with Washington if a planned joint military exercise between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) happens, the foreign ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) warned here on Tuesday.

In two statements carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a foreign ministry spokesperson slammed the upcoming 19-2 Dong Maeng exercise slated for next month.

"When working-level talks between the DPRK and the United States are on the calendar ... the United States is attempting to stage joint military drills 'DongMaeng 19-2' with the Republic of Korea, violating the commitment made at the top level," the KCNA report quoted the spokesperson as saying.

"This clearly violated the basic spirit of the DPRK-US joint statement and is flagrant pressure against us," and "if they become a reality, it will affect the DPRK-US working-level negotiations," he added.

According to the agreement, Pyongyang pledged to stop missile and nuclear testing while Washington agreed to end the joint US-ROK military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.

The working-level negotiations expected to begin in mid-July between Pyongyang and Washington were agreed on at last month's DPRK-US summit at Panmunjom.

The DPRK will decide whether to go ahead with the negotiations after "keeping an eye on the future moves of the United States," the spokesperson said.

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