SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korean peace activists on Monday demanded to stop the ongoing joint war game with the United States for dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the war game kicked off earlier in the day.
A group of peace activists, affiliated with 13 advocacy groups, held a press conference outside the presidential Blue House, saying the DPRK's nuclear and missile tests would be stopped through dialogue only when the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint military exercise is stopped.
The UFG computer-assisted simulation exercise began earlier in the day, mobilizing about 17,500 U.S. soldiers and some 50,000 South Korean troops. The U.S.-South Korea joint war game will last till the end of this month.
The DPRK has denounced the war game as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion. Pyongyang tended to test-fire missiles or conduct provocation to show its force in response to the U.S.-South Korea military drills.
The activists said both Pyongyang and Washington should stop intimidating each other as the war of words created the crisis of war on the Korean Peninsula, claiming the first suspension of the South Korea-U.S. joint war games to launch talks with the DPRK.
The DPRK test-launched what it called an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) twice in July. It was followed by the exchange of belligerent rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington, which escalated tension on the peninsula.
Some local experts claimed the halt of the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises in exchange for the suspension of the DPRK's further provocation, in a bid to open talks for the denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Another group of peace activists held a press conference in central Seoul to demand the suspension of the ongoing UFG joint military exercise.
They said the war exercise and the mobilization of U.S. strategic assets should be stopped to peacefully resolve the peninsula issue, citing the halt of the U.S.-South Korea war game in 1992 that led to the launch of the inter-Korean talks and the joint declaration of the Korean Peninsula denuclearization between the two sides.
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