US agrees to delay drills with SK

AP
US President Donald Trump's administration has agreed to delay joint United States military exercises with South Korea until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month.
AP

US President Donald Trump’s administration has agreed to delay joint United States military exercises with South Korea until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month, the Pentagon said yesterday.

A Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Rob Manning, said Trump had agreed to the delay in consultation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

“The Department of Defense supports the president’s decision and what is in the best interest of the South Korea-US alliance,” Manning said, referring to the US defense treaty with South Korea.

The decision pushes back a set of annual military exercises known as Foal Eagle, which normally are held between February and April. Foal Eagle is a series of exercises designed to test the readiness of the two countries’ militaries.

North Korea routinely objects to such maneuvers as a rehearsal for an invasion.

Yesterday’s decision from the US came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reopened a key cross-border communication channel with South Korea for the first time in nearly two years.

In a tweet early yesterday, Trump claimed his tough stance on nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula is helping to push North Korea and South Korea to talk.

Trump tweeted: “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North.”

Earlier this week, Trump seemed open to the possibility of inter-Korean talks after Kim made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year’s address. But Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations insisted that talks won’t be meaningful unless North Korea is getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

The overture about talks came after Trump and Kim traded bellicose claims about their nuclear weapons. In his New Year’s address, Kim repeated fiery nuclear threats against the US and said he has a “nuclear button” on his desk. Trump tweeted: “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”


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