The unification ministry here on Monday refuted North Korea's criticisms regarding the ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, saying it is a violation of agreements between the two Koreas and would not help in advancing ties.
Last week, North Korea had lashed out at Seoul and Washington over the joint military exercise that kicked off earlier this month. The North, in a statement on Sunday, said inter-Korean dialogue will be on hold till South Korea gives a "plausible excuse" for the drill, Yonhap news agency reported.
"(We) want to point out that the criticism by North Korea's foreign ministry and its media outlets against our government mentioning the South Korea-U.S. joint exercise does not help advance inter-Korean relations at all," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, said at a press briefing.
"The exercise is not a field training aimed at the North, but a joint command post drill intended to prepare for the transfer of wartime operational control (from Washington to Seoul)," he said.
"It is not a violation of North-South military agreements," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson noted that South Korea remains committed to the summit agreements reached last year between the two Koreas, urging Pyongyang to respond to Seoul's efforts to move inter-Korean ties forward.
South and North Korea signed military deals last September, in which they agreed to reduce cross-border tensions. North Korea has called Seoul-Washington military drills a "rehearsal for invasion."
North Korea fired two more projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Saturday, the latest in a series of moves against the joint exercise between Seoul and Washington.
US President Donald Trump had said in a tweet last week that he received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in which he said the leader expressed his displeasure with the joint military exercise but voiced hope to start their stalled nuclear talks as soon as the drill is over.
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