DPRK slams South Korean president for north policy

And having more than a few reliable missiles - long-range ones, plus short-range ones that could, for instance, hit South Korea where 28,000 US troops are deployed - enhance North Korea's leverage.

North Korea denounced on Monday joint military drills between South Korea and the United States amid heightened tension over the North's nuclear and missiles programmes which it said was aimed at a preemptive attack.

It has already condemned these drills as pouring "gasoline on fire".

"The Ulchi exercise is a defensive drill conducted annually".

Although remote, the danger of a U.S.

But Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military exercises were "not now on the table as part of the negotiation at any level" and the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises are going ahead as planned.

On Sunday it warned through state newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, that the joint exercise "is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won't evolve into".

It is the first time for DPRK to make Moon personally responsible for his handling of the north-south relations since he came to power about 100 days ago.

US President Donald Trump warned that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.

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The US military describes the software behind the drills as "state-of-the-art wargaming computer simulations". Held in South Korea, they have also involved practice drills for terror and chemical attacks in recent years.

This year, 17,500 members of the US military and almost 50,000 servicemembers from the South Korean military are taking part.

They can also sometimes involve troops from other allies - last year's UFG saw the participation of nine other countries including the UK, Australia, Denmark and the Philippines.

The secrecy of North Korea's nuclear program, the underground nature of its test explosions and the location of its uranium-enrichment activity has made it historically hard to assess its capabilities.

"North Korea has already flight-tested ICBMs twice this year and will probably take a wait-and-see approach to assess the impact of stronger pressure from the United States and China and maybe even seek an opportunity for talks, rather than quickly move forward with another test", said Moon Seong Mook, a former South Korean military official and current senior analyst for the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.

"I worry it might enact this plan when the joint exercises start", said James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Have the drills caused conflict before?

He went on to appear in North Korean propaganda films and was believed to be the last U.S. military defector in the country, the others all having died or been allowed to leave.

China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills and so has Russian Federation.


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