Korea steps up pressure on North to take 'concrete action' toward denuclearization

20 June, 2018, 20:16 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Trump repeats call to halt US-South Korea drills stirs unease among military & allies

The comments came a day after Washington and Seoul announced that they were canceling a major military exercise that had been scheduled for August, following through on a promise made by President Donald Trump during his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korea and Japan are both market economies, democracies and United States allies, and both are threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is severely strained by historical and territorial issues.

Wednesday also saw Kang insist the ROK-U.S. alliance remained strong in the wake of Trump's surprise announcement on the suspension of combined military exercises at a press conference last week.

The U.S. has more than 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea to deter North Korean aggression since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.

The idea was proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the landmark April 27 summit.

But analysts say the Singapore summit has made it hard for the Trump administration to return to that policy even if its current diplomacy with North Korea proves to be a failure. The "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" drill will not take place this year as it did last year, an official told Reuters.

Agreement was reached to hold a basketball match between the two Koreas in Pyongyang on July 4 and a separate basketball match this fall in Seoul.

Before conducting nuclear weapons tests, before even building facilities create fissile material, North Korea established a strong deterrent against South Korea and the USA - artillery.

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The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills have taken place annually for more than 40 years.

The drill's suspension would have been unthinkable past year, when North Korea sharply raised animosity with a torrid run of nuclear and long-range missile tests that put the country closer to acquiring a nuclear arsenal capable of targeting the USA mainland.

The Pentagon rarely uses the words "war game" for joint military drills and it is a phrase more often seen in North Korean state media.

At earlier summits of his own with Kim, Moon added, the North Korean "turned out to be frank and straightforward and despite his age, maintained his composure" throughout their long talks.

White said US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton would meet later this week at the Pentagon to discuss the issue.

Trump, after meeting with Kim on June 12, said stopping the "war games" exercise would save money, "Plus, I think it's very provocative".

"Now the North and the US have removed their long hostile relations and made a historic transition toward a new peace system".

"North Korea has strong female paddlers", Kim said.

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