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(LEAD) N. Korea condemns joint military exercise by S. Korea, U.S., Japan | Yonhap News Agency



(LEAD) N. Korea condemns joint military exercise by S. Korea, U.S., Japan | Yonhap News Agency

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — North Korea vowed Sunday to take “offensive and overwhelming countermeasures” to protect its sovereignty as it condemned South Korea, the United States and Japan for their recent joint military exercises.

The move came amid a growing North Korea-Russia alignment after Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership” treaty that calls for providing military assistance to each other without delay if either side comes under an armed attack.

North Korea will “never overlook the moves of the U.S. and its followers to strengthen the military bloc … but firmly defend the sovereignty, security and interests of the state and peace in the region through offensive and overwhelming countermeasures,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The ministry did not elaborate on what it meant by countermeasures.

On Saturday, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan wrapped up their first, three-day trilateral multi-domian military exercise, titled “Freedom Edge,” aimed at strengthening their deterrence against North Korean threats.

The three nations have had combined maritime and aerial exercises before, but Freedom Edge was the first trilateral exercise held across multiple domains, including air, maritime, underwater and cyber.

South Korea’s defense ministry said the trilateral exercise is “defensive in nature.”

“Our military will firmly respond to any threat or provocation from North Korea that destroys peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula based on the overwhelming South Korea-U.S. combined defense posture,” the ministry said.

This photo, provided by the U.S. Navy’s USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier on June 28, 2024, shows F/A-18E Super Hornets during the Freedom Edge trilateral exercise involving South Korea, the United States and Japan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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