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North Korea says UN should demand end to South Korea-US drills

The statement from Pyongyang comes after Seoul and Washington announced more than 10 days of large-scale military exercises.

North Korea has called on the United Nations to demand an immediate halt to joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Son Gyong said in a statement to state media on Sunday that the exercises and allied rhetoric have raised tensions to an “extremely dangerous level”.

He said the UN and the international community “will have to strongly urge the US and South Korea to immediately halt their provocative remarks and joint military exercises”.

The statement comes after Seoul and Washington officials announced more than 10 days of large-scale military exercises, including amphibious landings, from March 13 to 23 on Friday.

The allies have said the exercises are defensive and necessary to counter the rising threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, which are banned by UN Security Council resolutions.

But Pyongyang sees the exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.

On Saturday it blamed Washington for what it called the collapse of international arms control systems and said its nuclear weapons were “the surest way” to ensure the balance of power in the region.

Seoul and Washington also conducted a combined aerial exercise involving a US long-range bomber and a South Korean fighter jet on Friday, the latest in their series of joint training exercises in recent weeks.

The Allies’ “irresponsible actions” will only push the regional situation “into a very critical and uncontrollable phase,” Kim warned.

It is regrettable that the UN has been consistently silent on the exercises, which are of a “clearly aggressive nature,” he added.

Last month, Kim issued a statement saying UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “extremely unfair and unbalanced” about North Korea’s missile tests.