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South Korea says there is no decision on joint U.S. military training, but exercises should not create tensions in North Korea

File photo: On August 23, 2016, the flags of South Korea and the United States are flying next to each other in Yongin, South Korea. Provided by: Ken Scar / US Army / Handout via REUTERS

August 2, 2021

Shin Hyun Hee

Seoul (Reuters) – South Korea has not made a decision on a joint military exercise with the United States on Monday, but is nervous after North Korea warns South Korea that it will conduct the exercise in the midst of signs of melting relations. He said it should not be triggered.

South Korea and the United States conduct regular military exercises, mainly in the spring and summer, but North Korea has long responded with bitter criticism, calling them war rehearsals.

Kim Yo-jong, a sister of North Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-un and a senior official of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, warned the South on Sunday that training would undermine efforts to rebuild relations.

Her warning comes a few days after the two South Koreans restored the hotline that Pyongyang cut a year ago, as Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are trying to repair a tense relationship and resume the summit. came.

The Seoul Ministry of Defense said Monday that Seoul and Washington were discussing training, but no decision had been made.

“I have nothing to comment on her remarks, but the timing and method of the exercises was uncertain,” Boo Seung-chan, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a briefing.

Allies will decide after considering the issues of COVID-19, joint defense posture, planned transfer of wartime operational controls, and “supporting diplomatic efforts to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.” He added.

Lee Jung-ju, a spokesman for the Ministry of Unification dealing with the Global North and Global South, said the exercise should not be “a source of military tension in any case” without giving details.

Exercises have recently been conducted to facilitate talks between North Korea and former US President Donald Trump’s administration aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for easing US sanctions. It was reduced.

However, negotiations stalled after the failure of the second summit between Kim and Trump in 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic also affected training, with allies instead focusing on computerized simulations, minimizing on-the-job training without mobilizing US-based troops.

A senior Unification ministry official said Friday that exercises should be postponed to help resume nuclear negotiations, but Prime Minister Lee commented when asked if the ministry plans to make formal recommendations. I refrained.

Last week, Prime Minister Lee said the South proposed the installation of a video conferencing system to facilitate dialogue between South Korea and approved a plan by two private relief groups to send humanitarian aid to the North.

(Report by Hyun Hisin, edited by Michael Perry)



South Korea says there is no decision on joint U.S. military training, but exercises should not create tensions in North Korea

Source link South Korea says there is no decision on joint U.S. military training, but exercises should not create tensions in North Korea

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