North Korea's silence clouds prospects of Trump-Kim meeting

21 March, 2018, 08:05 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Kim Jong-Un 'could launch unprovoked strike on Europe with new missile', Germany warns

The Foal Eagles and Key Resolve drills would, as originally scheduled, have clashed with the Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Among key assets that joined were the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the USS Columbus nuclear-powered attack submarine and a B-1B strategic bomber. Usually, they last for two months. The North has often responded to the drills with its own military actions, and previous year fired four ballistic missiles close to Japan.

"It's really important not only to the North but also the USA and the South to put the situation under control during the drills", he said.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he meant to improve ties between the two countries, the announcement suggests that tensions are beginning to ease.

Defence officials from South Korea and the United States announced on Tuesday the outline of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises, which usually commence in February and run for two months.

North Korea often views military exercises between the USA and South Korea as a provocation aimed at the North and has used such military maneuvers to justify its nuclear and missile programs.

The exercises are slated to resume April 1, Pentagon officials said in a statement.

"These are low-key drills". Washington and Seoul insist they are defensive and are needed to keep allied forces combat-ready. This was followed, unexpectedly, by prospects for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.

Some observers had questioned whether the 2018 version of the military exercises would be the same length and scale as previous iterations given the recent diplomatic engagement with North Korea, but Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan stressed that the exercises "are the same scale, scope and duration as previous years".

Experts believe that missile, the Hwasong-15, is capable of striking most of the U.S.

A South Korean delegation will travel to the North Korean capital later this week to inspect the locations for the historic event.

The Pentagon said the North Korean military had been notified about the schedule for the drills by the United Nations Command.

But the US side's preparation for the high-stakes face-to-face encounter has been complicated by last week firing of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and a number of vacancies in key policy positions regarding East Asia.

As part of the deal, North Korea agreed to suspend missiles and nuclear weapons tests and to not object publicly to the joint drills, the White House said.


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