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.
It was not known whether the U.S. forces would mobilize strategic assets, such as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers, to the UFG war game.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also reiterated his position that the peninsula issue should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.
Moon told a cabinet meeting that a door to dialogue for the peaceful resolution is always open, urging the DPRK to stop provocation and war-like rhetoric.
He said Pyongyang should listen closely to the dialogue messages sent by South Korea and the international society to actively participate in building peace on the peninsula.
The president emphasized that if Pyongyang makes a courageous choice, it would bring a stable and prosperous future while maintaining peace and easing military confrontations.
He vowed to make all efforts to prevent the current situations from developing into the crisis of war based on the firm South Korea-U.S. alliance, repeating his stance that another war must never break out on the peninsula.
Meanwhile, Moon warned Pyongyang not to conduct any other provocation while the UFG military drills last by the end of this month.
He said the UFG is an annually-held joint military exercise that is defensive in nature, saying South Korea has no intention to escalate military tension on the peninsula.
Moon said the DPRK should neither distort South Korea's efforts to maintain peace nor conduct provocative acts, which worsen situations, under the pretext of this exercise.
He noted Pyongyang should recognize the point that its continued provocations brought about a vicious cycle of the South Korea-U.S. joint defense drills resulting from the DPRK's provocation.
The DPRK, Moon said, did not stop its efforts to advance the nuclear and missile technologies, while the international community strengthened pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang.
The peninsula's security situations got graver than ever because of the recent developments, the president added.