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N. Korea rejects family reunions

North Korea on Sunday blasted President Park Geun-hye's Liberation Day speech, and made clear that it rejects calls for family reunions for people separated during the Korean War (1950-53).

The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) said in a statement released by its spokesperson that the president's speech viciously slandered the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). It said such behavior caused shock and outrage among the people. The DPRK is North Korea's official name.

The committee in charge of handling inter-Korean affairs said that Park is responsible for causing the worse deterioration in cross-border relations in history and challenged the North's integrity and governing system by talking about "purges" and "provocation."

"Instead of atoning for bringing about the current state of affair Park caused more problems by her ludicrous statements," it said.

The CPRK then warned that Park will pay dearly for her actions.

It said calls for family reunions, the creation of a Peace Park within the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries and more sports and cultural exchanges were all blatant attempts to fool people.

The committee then said that Park's stance can only be interpreted as a political provocation and a declaration of war.

It said that if Seoul really wants peace and an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it must stop its joint military exercise with the United States that can only be seen as a move to invade the North.

South Korea is set to kickoff the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise this week, which North Korea says must be halted if meaningful talks are to take place.

The exercise has been held annually since the 1970s, with North Korea routinely denouncing it as war preparations against it.

Related to the UFG, Pyongyang's National Defense Commission warned that it will take tough military action if Seoul and Washington go through with the military maneuvers that start Monday.

In response, the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command made clear that the exercise is aimed at maintaining stability on the peninsula and was planned well in advance and the number of troops is no larger than it has been in the past.

The U.S. will have some 30,000 troops on the ground, while Seoul will employ 50,000.

South Korea's military said that the UFG will take into account possible provocations by the North.

"If the North engages in aggression, the South will respond in a firm manner," Adm. Choi Yun-hee, chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. (Yonhap)
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