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White House: U.S. has no hostile intent toward North Korea

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a session of the sixth enlarged meeting of the eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released on January 1, 2023 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

The White House on Wednesday rejected North Korean accusations that joint military exercises in the region are a provocation and said the United States has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang.

"We have made clear we have no hostile intent toward the DPRK (North Korea) and seek serious and sustained diplomacy to address the full range of issues of concern to both countries and the region," said a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.

The White House comment came after North Korea's Foreign Ministry said that drills by the United States and its allies have pushed the situation to an "extreme red-line" and threaten to turn the peninsula into a "huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone."

The statement, carried by state news agency KCNA, said Pyongyang was not interested in dialogue as long as Washington pursues hostile policies.

The White House statement reiterated a U.S. willingness "to meet with DPRK representatives at a time and place convenient for them."

"We reject the notion that our joint exercises with partners in the region serve as any sort of provocation. These are routine exercises fully consistent with past practice," the official said.

"The United States is continuing to work closely with allies and partners to ensure peace and stability in the region. At the same time, we will continue to work with allies and partners to fully enforce UN Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community and to limit the DPRK’s ability to advance its unlawful weapons programs and threaten regional stability," the official said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jacqueline Wong & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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