South Korea and US resume military drills ahead of nuclear talks
South Korea South Korea and US resume military drills ahead of nuclear talks
Joint exercise on Monday comes days before Mike Pompeo meets leading Kim Jong-un adviser in New York
The United States and South Korea have resumed some military exercises just days ahead of a high-profile meeting focused on denuclearisation between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials.
About 500 South Korean and American marines will take part in the drills on Monday, according to Yonhap news, which were previously indefinitely suspended in June after Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Pyongyang often bristles at joint US-South Korean military exercises, claiming they are provocations directed at the North, and officials hoped the suspension would encourage talks.North Korea set to allow inspectors into nuclear test site Read more
The manoeuvers, part of the Korean marine exchange program, will take place in the southern South Korean city of Pohang, according to the South Korean defense ministry.
Negotiations over the Northâs nuclear program have largely stalled, with Pyongyang demanding sanctions relief after halting weapons tests and Washington repeatedly saying the restrictions would remain in place until North Korea is nuclear free.
Pompeo was set to meet Kim Yong-chol, an adviser to Kim Jong-un, this week in New Yor k. But it remains unclear if the small-scale military drills will complicate talks. Decisions over major military exercises for next year are expected to be made by the end of the year.
âI expect weâll make some real progress including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearisation,â Pompeo said in an interview with CBS. Trump has signaled he is preparing for a second meeting with Kim.
Asked when Pyongyang could expect sanctions relief, Pompeo said: âIt is not only complete denuclearisation, but our capacity to verify that that has taken place, is also a prerequisite to lifting economic sanctionsâ.
But North Korea warned over the weekend it would publicly restart development of nuclear weapons if the US did not lift some sanctions. Experts believe there has been no change in its nuclear program despite ongoing negotiations.
âThe improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible,â a foreign ministry official said according to the state-run Korean Central New Agency. âThe US thinks that its oft-repeated âsanctions and pressureâ lead to âdenuclearisation.â We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea.â
Despite friction between Washington and Pyongyang, North and South Korea continue to improve relations, and the two sides will begin a joint survey of estuaries near the border this week that could see ships from either side use the waterways. It is the first time since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war the area will be surveyed and it has long been a flashpoint for tensions between the two Koreas.Topics
- South Korea
- North Korea
- US foreign policy
- Asia Pacific
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