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N. Korea slams France for staging joint air drills with S. Korea

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 2, 2023 - 09:25

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F-15K fighter jets of South Korea and Rafale fighter jets of France fly over an air base in the southeastern city of Gimhae on July 25. (Yonhap) F-15K fighter jets of South Korea and Rafale fighter jets of France fly over an air base in the southeastern city of Gimhae on July 25. (Yonhap)

North Korea on Wednesday lambasted France for holding a combined air exercise with South Korea for the first time last week, decrying it as an "undisguised military provocation" threatening the North's security.

A researcher at Pyongyang's Korea-Europe Association made the criticism in a statement released by the North's Korean Central News Agency after the two countries kicked off the two-day drills last Tuesday at an air base in the South's southeastern city of Gimhae.

"This is an irresponsible act of fanning up the acute tensions in the Korean Peninsula and an undisguised military provocation of threatening the security and interests of the DPRK, in support of the US hostile policy towards it," Ryu Kyong-chol said in the English-language statement.

DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Ryu took aim at France, claiming that its dispatch of fighter aircraft to the Korean Peninsula cannot be viewed other than an act regarding North Korea as an enemy.

"France had better stop wasting its energies in the Asia-Pacific region," the researcher said. "If it continues to run amuck without discretion in the Korean Peninsula, the biggest hotspot, as now, it will find itself in an undesirable situation."

The French team came here last week as part of the "Pegase" mission designed to deploy air assets to East and South Asia in what it calls a demonstration of the country's commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The first-ever bilateral training program between the two countries' air forces included air refueling drills, as well as a joint flight aimed at commemorating the sacrifices of UN troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. (Yonhap)