North Korea condemns joint military exercise by South Korea, US and Japan

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North Korea criticised the trilateral “Freedom Edge” military exercise by South Korea, Japan and the US, held between 27 June and 29 June, as “provocative”, said a statement by a department of the country’s foreign ministry, carried by the Korean Central News Agency, on Sunday.

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Pyongyang will not ignore the strengthening of a military bloc led by the US and its allies and will protect regional peace with an aggressive and overwhelming response, the statement said.

On Thursday, the three countries began large-scale joint military drills involving navy destroyers, fighter jets and the nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, aimed at boosting defences against missiles, submarines and air attacks.

The “Freedom Edge” exercise was devised at the three-way summit at Camp David last year to strengthen military cooperation amid tensions on the Korean peninsula stemming from North Korea’s weapons testing.

Last year, the three countries staged joint naval missile defence and anti-submarine exercises to improve responses to North Korean threats.

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