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North Korea calls isles’ RIMPAC an attack plot

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SEOUL » North Korea has repeated a regular accusation that the U.S. and South Korea are plotting to attack the North, this time based on the Rim of the Pacific military exercises now under way off Hawaii.

The U.S.-led, biennial RIMPAC drills involve warships from 14 nations, including South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The maneuvers, which began last month and run until Aug. 1, include finding submarines, clearing mines and firing missiles.

North Korea’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper calls the actions "dangerous military provocations … and reckless war maneuvers" with North Korea as their main target.

The statement comes as North Korea’s military abruptly canceled a rare meeting yesterday with the American-led U.N. Command arranged to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang.

Military officers from North Korea and the U.N. Command were to meet at the Korean border village of Panmunjom yesterday morning to discuss the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors. It would have been the first such meeting since the sinking, which sharply raised tensions on the divided Korean peninsula.

The North requested a delay in the talks for "administrative reasons," the U.N. Command said.

In Washington, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said there is a chance the colonel-level administrative meeting could be held tomorrow instead.

"They’ve indicated that they’d like to move it to Thursday, but … this is an unpredictable regime and so I wouldn’t put any money on that," Whitman said yesterday.


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