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Pyongyang blames Washington for escalating tension 

Pyongyang, March 31 (IANS) North Korea on Thursday blamed the US for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, citing the US nuclear threat, US-South Korea joint military exercises and sanctions against Pyongyang as examples.

An unnamed spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry attributed the current tense situation to the US in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

“The US nuclear threat and blackmail, joint military exercises, sanctions and other moves to stifle the DPRK are the root cause of pushing the situation on the peninsula to the brink of a clash of nuclear weapons,” the statement said.

The statement condemned the US for making North Korea a target for “preemptive nuclear attack,” adding that the threat from the US has existed for the past several decades.

On March 7, the US and South Korea kicked off their joint annual war games “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle,” which Pyongyang said were rehearsals for northward invasion.

The “Key Resolve” command post exercise ended earlier this month, but the “Foal Eagle” field training exercise is scheduled to last until April 30.

Pyongyang on Tuesday fired a short-range projectile in an apparent show of force toward the ongoing US-South Korea joint military exercises and sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Including the Tuesday launch, North Korea has fired a total of 16 short-and medium-range projectiles in 2016.

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