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North Korea warns top US commander in South Korea over upcoming military drills

A South Korean army soldier patrols inside the barbed-wire fence at Imjingak in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said last Thursday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

A South Korean army soldier patrols inside the barbed-wire fence at Imjingak in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said last Thursday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

North Korea has warned the top U.S. commander in South Korea to cancel upcoming drills aimed at deterring Pyongyang's military provocations.

Pyongyang's official media say the warning was sent to Gen. James Thurman on Saturday. The U.S. and South Korea earlier notified the North of their plans to begin the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises next month.

North Korea calls the joint drills a prominent example of U.S. hostility against it. Pyongyang says the hostility compelled the North to conduct its Feb. 12 nuclear test.

U.S. officials are negotiating in the U.N. Security Council for tougher sanctions against North Korea for the nuclear test, the country's third since 2006.

Washington stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea in a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.