US, Korea cancel military exercise after criticism from N Korea

19-Nov-2019 Intellasia | TheHill | 6:02 AM Print This Post

US and South Korean military forces have indefinitely delayed a planned joint exercise that sparked harsh criticism from North Korea in what Defense Secretary Mark Esper called “a gesture of goodwill,” according to The Associated Press.

Esper reportedly announced the delay during a joint news conference on Sunday with Jeong Kyeong-doo, his South Korean counterpart, at a defense ministers’ conference in Bangkok.

Esper said the postponement was not a concession to the North, but instead “a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace, to shape… to facilitate a political agreement a deal, if you will that leads to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” according to the AP.

Esper reportedly said both the US and South Korea urged Pyongyang to “demonstrate the same goodwill” and resume denuclearisation talks “without precondition or hesitation.”

 (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

“I see this as a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace, to shape… to facilitate a political agreement a deal, if you will that leads to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” he said, adding that the US and South Korean militaries “will remain at a high state of readiness.”

Despite the gesture, North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it has no plans to negotiate over denuclearisation unless the US first puts the end of “hostile” policies toward North Korea on the table, and accusing the US of attempting to isolate the North with its support for a recent United Nations resolution that condemned North Korean human rights violations, the AP reported.

Japan’s defense minister, Taro Kono, told Esper that “no one could be optimistic about” making meaningful changes to North Korea’s conduct, according to the news service.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/470808-us-south-korea-cancel-military-exercise-after-criticism-from-north-korea

 


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