North Korea warns military drills imperil reunions with South

In a file picture taken on November 1, 2010 North Koreans (in the bus) grip hands of their South Korean relatives as they bid farewell following their three-day separated family reunion meeting at Mount Kumgang resort on the North's southeastern coast, near the border.

SEOUL - North Korea said on Thursday it may reconsider plans to hold reunions between families in the North and the South of the country if the United States and South Korea push ahead with planned annual military drills.

In a rare confidence building move, the two Koreas agreed on Wednesday to allow families still divided by the 1950-53 Korean War to meet for five days in late February for the first time since 2010.

"At the time when the agreement was made on reunions of separated families and relatives at Panmunjom, a formation of the US B-52 strategic bombers were carrying out nuclear strike practices all day, aiming us," a spokesman at the policy department of the North's National Defence Commission was quoted as saying via the country's state-run television.

No one at the United States command in South Korea was immediately available to comment on the North's statement that B-52s had been deployed and the United States Pacific command in Hawaii did not immediately return calls or emails.

SERVICES