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World US, South Korea could scale back joint drills: Esper

06:45  14 november  2019
06:45  14 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

North Korea Warns American 'War Exercise' Will Violate Trump's Vow to Kim, Put Nuclear Talks 'On the Verge of Extinction'

  North Korea Warns American 'War Exercise' Will Violate Trump's Vow to Kim, Put Nuclear Talks 'On the Verge of Extinction' Pyongyang warned that the planned aerial drill will "throw a wet blanket" on struggling negotiations.On Wednesday, a statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency described the planned drills—a scaled-back exercise in place of the annual Vigilant Ace air maneuvers—as a declaration of confrontation with Pyongyang, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on his way to Seoul, as Pyongyang said it was running out of patience. The North has long protested joint military drills , which it condemns as preparations for

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signaled The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North's

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on his way to Seoul, as Pyongyang said it was running out of patience.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump© Olivier Douliery The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump

The North has long protested joint military drills, which it condemns as preparations for invasion, and has set Washington an end-of-year deadline to come up with a new offer in deadlocked negotiations on its weapons programmes.

The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, but are due to carry out a combined air exercise next month.

North Korea warns of retaliation against U.S-South Korea military drills

  North Korea warns of retaliation against U.S-South Korea military drills North Korea threatened on Wednesday to retaliate if the United States goes ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korea, ramping up pressure on Washington to change course as a year-end North Korean deadline for U.S. flexibility approaches. The statement came even though Washington said last week that the joint aerial exercise planned for next month would be reduced in scope from previous drills.

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has signaled. The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the

The United States and South Korea announced Saturday that annual large- scale exercises, which The joint exercises will be scaled back and done on a small unit level or even include virtual Defense officials have said they believe they can achieve the necessary training needs in this manner.

"We will adjust our exercise posture either more or less depending on what diplomacy may require," Esper told reporters on board his plane to Seoul, where he starts an Asian tour Thursday.

The possible downsizing of the joint drills should not be seen as a "concession" to Pyongyang, he said, "but as a means to keep the door open to diplomacy".

"I'm all for diplomacy first," he added.

His comments came after Pyongyang reiterated its demands for the combined exercise to be scrapped.

"The US is not accepting with due consideration the year-end time limit that we set out of great patience and magnanimity," a spokesman for the State Affairs Commission (SAC) said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The SAC is the North's top governing body and it is unusual for it to issue such declarations.

U.S. Vows to Defend South Korea With Full Military Force Following Pyongyang Threats

  U.S. Vows to Defend South Korea With Full Military Force Following Pyongyang Threats North Korea has lodged multiple protests over planned joint U.S.-South Korean war games, and said Wednesday it would respond to force in kind.North Korea released an official statement Wednesday saying it felt "betrayed" by a planned U.S. and South Korea joint military exercise, which is set to go ahead despite Pyongyang's repeated complaints.

The U . S . and South Korea already scaled back their 2018 and 2019 military exercises in the hope that it would help move North Korea toward agreement " We will adjust our exercise posture, either more or less, depending on what diplomacy may require," Esper said, adding, " We have to be open to all

The United States and South Korea have long held large- scale exercises in the spring, known as The decision to scale back the military exercises follows nuclear talks this week between Mr. Trump Suspending exercises can hamper military readiness. At the end of the summit meeting in Hanoi

Holding the drills would be an "undisguised breach" of the Singapore summit declaration, it said, adding: "Betrayal is only what we feel from the US side."

"We no longer feel the need to exercise any more patience," it went on, but gave no details of the "new way" it was threatening to pursue if Washington did not meet its demands.

Negotiations have been gridlocked since the Hanoi summit between Kim and Trump broke up in February with disagreement over sanctions relief and what the North would be willing to give up in return.

Working-level talks restarted in Sweden in October only to break down quickly, with the North blaming the US for not giving up its "old attitude".

Pyongyang has carried out a series of missile tests in recent weeks and months, including one launched at sea, which it said was fired from a submarine -- a potential strategic game-changer.

The tests would improve the North's capabilities, Esper acknowledged.

U.S. ‘flexible’ on military exercises with South Korea as North demands cancellation

  U.S. ‘flexible’ on military exercises with South Korea as North demands cancellation Pyongyang has threatened “shocking punishment” if the allies’ joint maneuvers go ahead.But Esper stopped short of canceling a planned joint air drill, as North Korea has demanded.

The US and South Korea have confirmed they will no longer hold two large- scale joint military exercises. The drills , which have always Critics have said cancelling the drills could undermine US and South Korean military defences against the North, but others say those concerns are unjustified.

The U . S . and South Korea are expected to announce they will significantly scale back annual large- scale joint exercises. Scaling back the exercises could be seen as a good faith gesture to keep nuclear talks with North Korea alive following the failed Hanoi summit, and to address President

"Anytime you test, you learn something," he said. "We take them very seriously and we watch them very closely, but we're also not going to overreact and do something that, for example, could close the door to diplomacy."

-'Critical' pact-

Esper will arrive in South Korea Thursday afternoon and meet with Seoul's Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo Friday to discuss the two nations' security alliance.

The US top official is expected to urge the South to drop its plan to end a military-intelligence sharing pact with Japan, which Washington considers vital to keeping the nuclear-armed North and China in check.

In the latest manifestation of the neighbours' dispute over wartime history, Seoul announced in August it would terminate the pact, saying maintaining it did not serve national interests. The agreement expires at midnight on November 22.

"Well, my message will be very clear," said Esper when asked on the pact. "The... agreement must be maintained."

Keeping the pact was "critical", he said, in monitoring North Korea's military actions as well as Chinese activities, calling on Seoul and Tokyo to solve their differences to focus "as allies to deter North Korean bad behaviour."

"The only folks who are benefiting from this dispute right now are North Korea and China," he added.

Seoul and Tokyo are both major US allies, democracies and market economies faced with an overbearing China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

But their relationship continues to be heavily affected by Japan's colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

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Pentagon denies U.S. is considering pulling troops from South Korea .
Pentagon denies U.S. is considering pulling troops from South Korea"There is absolutely no truth to the Chosun Ilbo report that the U.S. Department of Defense is currently considering removing any troops from the Korean Peninsula," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement, referring to Secretary Mark Esper, who earlier on Thursday had said he was unaware of any such planning.

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