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N.Korea says U.S. military drills violate sovereignty

HANOI, July 23 (Reuters) - U.S. and South Korean large-scale joint military drills would violate North Korean sovereignty and recent threats from Washington would meet with a “physical response”, a Pyongyang diplomat said on Friday.

“It is against the sovereignty of the DPRK (North Korea) and the security of the DPRK,” Ri Tong-il, a member of Pyongyang’s delegation at a regional security forum in Hanoi, told reporters.

“It is a threat to the Korean penninsula and the region of Asia as a whole,” he said. “And the DPRK’s position is clear: there will be physical response to the threat imposed by the United States militarily.”

South Korea and the United States say the exercises scheduled from July 25 aim to deter North Korea from any future attack, after Seoul blamed Pyongyang for the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Reporting by Ambika Ahuja; Editing by Jason Szep