North Korea Threatens Civilian Flights
South Korean-US military exercise rattles Pyongyang
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2009 1:20 PM CST
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, left, speaks to Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce during a visit to Canberra, Australia, today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – North Korea said it could not guarantee the safety of civilian flights near its airspace in light of a joint US-South Korean military exercise, the Telegraph reports. The annual exercise, which South Korea and the US say is purely defensive, is for next week. Pyongyang warned that it could not predict “what military conflicts will be touched off by the reckless war exercises.”

South Korean airlines are rerouting flights away from North Korean airspace in light of the North’s comments. Tension has been ratcheting up between the two nations since Lee Myung-Bak assumed the presidency a year ago. Lee has taken a sharper tone with the Pyongyang regime, and the North in January called off all existing peace treaties between the two nations.