NKorea criticizes SKorea-US drills in milder tone

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday criticized South Korea-U.S. military drills with milder-than-usual language that is being seen as a sign of its interest in keeping up diplomacy.

North Korea typically speaks with warlike rhetoric against any South Korea-U.S. exercises because it considers them as a rehearsal for invasion. But it has not made any such harsh statements against the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills that the United States and South Korea began Monday.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea called the training ‘‘big anti-(North Korea) war drills’’ and warned South Korea could face ‘‘uncontrollably catastrophic consequence.’’ It did not elaborate.

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