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(LEAD) N. Korean media decries proposed S. Korea-U.S. defense dialogue

15:47 October 24, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS additional N.K. media report in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean media outlet on Sunday slammed the United States for its recent proposal to create a new working-level defense dialogue with South Korea, accusing Washington of seeking to raise military pressure on Pyongyang.

The U.S. floated the idea of instituting the unofficial dialogue platform during the allies' regular defense talks in Seoul last month, sources have said, as Washington is pushing to rally its democratic allies to counter China's growing assertiveness.

Meari, a North Korean propaganda website, claimed that the proposed dialogue is yet another attempt by the U.S. to add pressure on the North and reinforce its regional policy initiative.

"The United States can be seen as seeking to usefully capitalize on the (proposed) defense working group to tighten its grab on South Korea's defense sector, pressure North Korea militarily and by extension, strengthen the realization of its Indo-Pacific strategy," the website said in an article.

It also rebuked the South for considering the proposed launch of such a defense dialogue based on a "sense of subservience" to the U.S.

Washington has reportedly proposed the dialogue to help find common ground between its Indo-Pacific strategy and Seoul's New Southern Policy aimed at deepening relations with Southeast Asian countries.

The two sides were expected to discuss the issue during their annual defense ministerial talks, called the Security Consultative Meeting, slated to take place in Seoul in December.

Meanwhile, another North Korean outlet, DPRK Today, denounced South Korea's upcoming Ulchi Taeguk exercise, calling it part of Seoul's "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang. DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Slated to take place from Wednesday to Friday this week, the exercise aims to enhance the country's capabilities to respond to large national disasters.

"The world knows that the Ulchi Taeguk exercise will proceed, targeting the people of the same ethnicity in the name of preparing against threats from somebody," the outlet said in an article.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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