US and South Korea Resume Military Drills Ahead of Denuclearization Talks With North Korea
The U.S. and South Korea resumed combined military exercises on Monday for the first time since the trainings were suspended earlier this year. The drills, which have long been a source of irritation for North Korea, come just days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to hold high-profile nuclear talks with the pariah state.
The maritime drills, which opened Monday, will reportedly last two weeks in the southern Korean city of Pohang and will involve approximately 500 soldiers, including U.S. marines stationed in Japan, Yonhap News Agency reports.
As a concession to Pyongyang, President Donald Trump indefinitely suspended regular U.S.-South Korean drills in the wake of his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June. Trump called the drills âtremendously expensiveâ and âvery pr ovocative.â
But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has since said that the U.S. has âno plansâ to hold back on future drills.
The exercises this week could impact upcoming talks scheduled this week between Secretary Pompeo and top North Korean adviser Kim Yong Chol, the Guardian reports.
Speaking on CBSâ Face the Nation on Sunday, Pompeo said he expected to the discussions to make âreal progressâ and lay the groundwork for âsubstantial steps towards denuclearizationâ at a planned second Trump-Kim summit.
But North Korea has previously lashed out agains t the U.S.-South Korean operations, which it views as rehearsals for a potential invasion. In August, an editorial in North Koreaâs Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused American negotiators of âdouble-dealing attitudes,â alleging the U.S. was âbusy staging secret drillsâ¦while having a dialogue with a smile on its face.â
âSuch acts prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK,â the editorial said.
Read more: I Was an Admiral. Why Trump Ending âWar Gamesâ Is a Mistake
On Friday, North Koreaâs Foreign Ministry threatened to restart its nuclear weapons program if the U.S. failed to ease economic sanctions. Some experts contend that little progress has been made towards denuclearization since the Singapore summit in June.
Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea
Write to Eli Meixler at email@example.com.