11:42 GMT29 January 2020
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    North Korean authorities in a statement warned Australia and the United Kingdom to refrain from joining the ongoing exercises by South Korea and the United States dubbed the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) On Monday, Seoul and Washington started the UFG, which is scheduled to continue through August 31. According to the US Department of Defense, UN Command forces from seven other states, including both Australia and the United Kingdom, are participating in the drills.

    "Availing ourselves of this opportunity, we solemnly warn not only the US and [South Korean] puppet group but also satellites, including UK and Australia, which are taking advantage of the present war maneuvers against the north that they would face a miserable end if they join in play with fire by tiger moths of war," a spokesman for the National Peace Committee, North Korea's institution dealing with inter-Korean issues, said in a statement as quoted by the official KCNA news agency.

    The drills, in which involve the participation of about 17,500 US servicemen and about 50,000 South Korean troops, have been repeatedly criticized by North Korea, which has promised to take retaliatory steps against both the United States and South Korea in light of the exercises.

    The United States and South Korea have a long history of cooperation in the sphere of defense dating back to the Korean War in the 1950s. Within the framework of this alliance, the sides hold joint military exercises on a regular basis.

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    Tags:
    military drills, US Department of Defense (DoD), United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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