See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

US ratchets up pressure on N. Korea with military drill card

The United States will continue with existing military exercise and will not suspend more in a response to Pyongyang’s inaction at denuclearization.


Written by

Updated: August 29, 2018

South Korea has no additional agreement with the United States on the suspension of major combined military drills, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement to that effect in response to reports of the Pentagon chief’s related comments.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis indicated the allies may seek to resume the manoeuvres if the North remains recalcitrant despite the June 12 Singapore summit agreement.

“We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises,” he told reporters at the Pentagon Tuesday (local time).

 

His position reflects a palpable sense of frustration among US officials over Pyongyang’s recent attitude. It also seems aimed at putting additional pressure on North Korea for its refusal to advance the denuclearization process.

Seoul’s foreign ministry regards the secretary’s remarks as mirroring the allies’ existing deal, under which they have indefinitely postponed this year’s large-scale spring and summer joint trainings: Key Resolve, Foal Eagle and Ulchi-Freedom Guardian.

“There’s no different agreement reached,” it said in a press release.

The two sides share a firm stance that denuclearization and peace-building efforts in Korea should go on and they will continue close consultations to prop up the work, it added.

President Donald Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit this week to North Korea, saying there’s no sufficient progress in denuclearization efforts.

A top North Korean negotiator, Kim Yong-chol, recently sent a letter to Pompeo, according to The Washington Post. CNN cited sources as saying that Kim warned in the letter that denuclearization talks are “again at stake and may fall apart.”

The North has arduously demanded the declaration of an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

The Trump administration, however, wants the North to submit a list of its nuclear arsenal first.

The US views the suspension of major military exercises with South Korea as a main incentive for the North.

Mattis made clear that, “We suspended several of the largest exercises, but we did not suspend the rest.” He added the US has no plan to suspend more drills any more.

Asked repeatedly to elaborate on the next steps, he said, “We are going to see how the negotiations go, and then we will calculate the future, how we go forward.”

He again pointed out the military’s focus, for now, is to support diplomats leading the campaign to rid the North of its nuclear weapons.

Mattis left room for flexibility, as Pompeo is still committed to engaging with Pyongyang.

“America stands ready to engage when it is clear that Chairman Kim (Jong-un) stands ready to deliver on the commitments that he made at the Singapore summit with President Trump,” Pompeo said in a statement.

His spokesperson, Heather Nauert, also said the US will be patient in the ongoing diplomatic effort.

“This wouldn’t be easy from the start, and it would be, could be a somewhat lengthy process,” she said at a press briefing.

“Overall, sometimes we move forward; sometimes we stand right where we are. The president, overall, remains very clear-eyed about the challenges and difficulties ahead of us.”

She stressed that the cancellation of what would have been Pompeo’s fourth trip to the North as the chief US diplomat was a decision based on discussions by the “entire national security team.”

In their judgment, Nauert said, they determined that now is not the right time to make the trip and Trump agreed with that.

She would neither confirm nor deny the news report of the North’s letter to Pompeo.

Asked if a new round of inter-Korean summit talks, slated for September, should be called off as well, she recalled South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s talk of the need for denuclearization.

On the Pentagon head’s comments on military trainings, she said Pompeo and Mattis maintain very close coordination.

“Also, part of this is having conversations with the South Koreans and our allies,” she said.

Holding a press conference together with Mattis, meanwhile, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said the US is continuing air and maritime operations to disrupt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel in violation of UN sanctions against the North.

His comments came amid growing concerns about loopholes in the sanctions.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Myanmar sued for genocide

On behalf of OIC, Gambia files the case at Int’l Court of Justice seeking orders to stop atrocities on Rohingyas immediately.  The Gambia has filed a case at the United Nations’ top court, accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, more than two years after some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown in the Rakhine State. “We have just submitted our application to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention,” Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said at a news conference yesterday in The Hague, where the court is based. “The aim is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right under our own eyes,” he said. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is the U


By Daily Star
November 12, 2019

Diplomacy

S. Korea open to settling spat with Japan over intel-sharing pact if relations improve

Intelligence sharing has been suspended since an economic spat between the two countries erupted several months ago. President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser reaffirmed Sunday that South Korea’s bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan could be renewed, as the expiration date draws near. Chung Eui-yong, chief of Cheong Wa Dae’s National Security Office, laid the blame on Japan for the strained relations, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades. “The government is willing to rethink an extension of the GSOMIA if South Korea-Japan relations normalize,” he said during a press briefing on Sunday, referring to the


By The Korea Herald
November 11, 2019

Diplomacy

US slams Myanmar over inaction

Myanmar has done little for the repatriation of Rohingyas. The US has condemned Myanmar’s inaction in creating conditions conducive to  a voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas. In a statement following a visit by two top US officials to Bangladesh between November 5-7, the country also underscored that it would continue its efforts to bring an end to the refugee crisis. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells travelled here to promote expanded US-Bangladesh bilateral relations, boost commercial and security ties, and address the ongoing Rohingya crisis, according to a statement released by the US embassy in Dhaka. During their time in Bangladesh, the duo visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, home to some one million Rohingyas, including some 750,000 who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar since August 2017.


By Daily Star
November 8, 2019

Diplomacy

New Delhi responds to uproar in Nepal over new political map, says it is “accurate”

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, says the map has not revised the boundary and that it accurately depicts India’s sovereign territory. New Delhi on Thursday said the new Indian political map “accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India”. India’s new political map—released earlier this week after India formally split up the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state into two federal territories—has created quite an uproar in Nepal, as it has placed the territory of Kalapani within Indian borders. After the Post first reported the story on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a 


By The Kathmandu Post
November 8, 2019

Diplomacy

China, US agree to remove additional tariffs gradually

Both sides said further deals were ‘close’. China and the United States have agreed to remove additional duties on each other step by step as they make progress in reaching a comprehensive trade deal, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. Over the past two weeks, the two negotiating teams had serious and constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional duties imposed on each other’s products in different phases after they make progress in reaching a deal, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly briefing. If China and the US reach a phase-one deal, both sides should simultaneously undo existing additional tariffs in the same proportion, which is an important condition for signing a preliminary agreement, Gao said. “As for how much of the tariffs should be removed, the two countries can negotiate based on the content of the phase-one deal,” he sai


By China Daily
November 8, 2019

Diplomacy

Nepal government comments on controversial Indian map but takes no firm position

In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry refers to media reports and commentary before asserting that the matter would be resolved diplomatically. The KP Sharma Oli administration on Wednesday said that its attention had been drawn to news and commentary regarding the placement of Kalapani on a new political map released by India. Refraining from commenting directly on India’s new map, the statement, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says, “The Nepal government is clear about Kalapani being part of Nepal’s territory.” The Post first reported on Monday that the new political map—released after India formally split up the dispu


By The Kathmandu Post
November 7, 2019