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Cheong Wa Dae admits discussion on 'media policy' with military officials over N. Korea's response to drills

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok (Yonhap)
Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Friday it convened a meeting with military officials in charge of public relations with regard to North Korea's strong criticism of South Korea's recent border island drills.

Presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok stressed that the meeting was to discuss media-related policy, not to "reprimand" the military.

Earlier in the day, the Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper carried a front-page report claiming that Moon's office had called in senior military officers and berated them over the revelation of the unannounced joint exercise conducted by the Navy and the Air Force on May 6. The next day, an official daily, affiliated with the Ministry of Defense, reported the training staged in the vicinity of northwestern islets near the sea border with the North.

The North's military then issued a statement describing the action as a grave provocation. It said the military practice was a reminder that, "The enemies remain enemies all the time." It added, "Everything is now going back to the starting point before the North-South summit meeting in 2018."

Pyongyang's angry response came at a time when the Moon Jae-in administration is seeking to resume inter-Korean cooperation, especially against the coronavirus.

Kang said the Cheong Wa Dae session was meant to review media-related policy, not military drills or operation.

Accordingly, the Chosun Ilbo's report is "exaggerated false news," he stressed.

A Cheong Wa Dae official later told reporters that Kim You-geun, deputy director of Cheong Wa Dae's national security office, attended the meeting. (Yonhap)
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