A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry Institute of American Studies warned on August 21 that the US-south Korea joint military exercises have gone too far with their aggressive nature getting more obvious. “The joint military exercises are staged on the DPRK’s doorstep, not in the US, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or in any other places that do not pose threat to the DPRK, which is the dangerousness of the joint military exercises quite different from other normal military drills,” he said. Given that the troops of 11 nations put together which are participating in the NATO’s current “rapid response 15” joint military exercises in Europe—billed as the largest ever since the Cold War—number less than 5 000, the US-south Korea joint drill that involves over 30 000 US troops and more than 50 000 south Korean personnel shows how much risky it is in terms of scale, he said. Describing the US argument that it cannot cancel the joint drill as it has been staged for more than 40 years as a poor excuse, he pointed out that the US skipped the “Team Spirit” according to the 1992 DPRK-US agreement and the year witnessed progress in maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula with the north and the south concluding a non-aggression agreement and signing a joint declaration on denuclearization. In the late 1960s, when the joint drill was staged for the first time, the US claimed that it was aimed at training commitment of US troops in light of a contingency on the Korean peninsula, but the drill has turned extremely provocative and aggressive by aiming to remove the DPRK’s leadership and occupy Pyongyang, he noted, adding that even the US president recently clamoured for the breakdown of the DPRK’s social system. Page 2 of 2 “The reality makes us stay more alert to the aggressive and risky joint drill and tolerate it no longer. “The cancellation of the joint drill, a stark revelation of the US hostile approach to the DPRK, will become a yardstick to test whether the US intends to settle the Korean peninsula issue peacefully or not,” he stressed.