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DPRK urges Seoul not to repeat war manoeuvers

* N Korean leader’s money manager defects in Russia

PYONGYANG: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday urged South Korea not to repeat annual war manoeuvers with the United States, which have driven north-south relations into the “worst phase,” the official KCNA news agency reported.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint military exercise was “the most dangerous nuclear war maneuver for invading the north, to which the tailored deterrence strategy aimed to make a preemptive nuclear strike at the DPRK was applied for the first time,” a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried by the KCNA. The DPRK accused South Korea of seeking dialogue on the one hand and frantically conducting war manoeuvers on the other, adding Seoul’s inconsistency between words and actions has revealed the repeatedly mentioned “dialogue” and “trust” rhetoric are but a smokescreen to blur public attention. The U.S.-South Korean combined military drills disturb the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and hinder the improvement of inter-Korean ties, the statement said. The DPRK also asked South Korean authorities to clarify their stance on whether to opt for dialogue or confrontation. South Korea and the United States on Thursday ended the UFG exercise which kicked off on Aug. 18, a day earlier than scheduled, in what appeared to appease anger of the DPRK.
The UFG is an annual joint military exercise between the South Korea and the United States. The General Staff of Korean People’s Army said in a statement one day ahead of the UFG launch that the war maneuver was pushing the Korean Peninsula to an extremely critical situation and the DPRK in response would carry out more intensive military exercises on a regular basis. 
Meanwhile, a senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday, citing an unidentified source. Yun Tae Hyong, a senior representative of North Korea’s Korea Daesong Bank, disappeared last week in Nakhodka, in the Russian Far East, with $5 million, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.

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Aaj Kal