North Korea blames U.S. for heightening tensions

North Korea blames U.S. for heightening tensions

North Korea blamed the United States for heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula in a departure from its restraint from directly criticizing Washington.

"The U.S.' unchanged hostile policy is pushing our country toward taking self-defense countermeasures to get rid of potential and direct threats," the North's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary.

Citing the joint drill that ended Tuesday and South Korea's introduction of high-tech weapons from the U.S., the paper blamed Washington for heightening tensions, which it said could hamper efforts for constructive dialogue.

"If tensions flare up, relations cannot be improved, confrontation arises, and there will be no constructive dialogue and genuine peace," Yonhap cited the paper as saying.

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