Published: Sun, June 24, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

USA suspending more training exercises with S. Korea: Pentagon

USA suspending more training exercises with S. Korea: Pentagon

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated Trump might have been referring to explosions last month that North Korea said were to destroy tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the dismantling of a medium-range ballistic missile test stand at Iha-ri, also in May.

North Korea announced before the Singapore summit the suspension of its ICBM testing and also closed its nuclear bomb test site, where it conducted several explosions in front of visiting media that it said were to destroy testing tunnels.

In the joint statement, Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", but made no reference to a timeline.

"In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith", White continued, using the acronym for the official name of North Korea.

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Last week, after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump made the surprise announcement that the USA would halt "war games" with its South Korean security ally - without making clear when the freeze would begin. While the USA military preparations suggest that the repatriation of war remains could be imminent, it remains unclear when and how it would occur.

A more effective way of repatriating remains is to have a joint mission between U.S. researchers and the North Korean military, Downes said.

Kim's visit to Beijing and economic activities across the border between China and North Korea should be watched in this regard.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, played down the significance of suspending the Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises, saying they were relatively minor.

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He dismissed it as "completely false" and said plans were "still preliminary".

Kim's visit to Beijing, while expected, is one way for China to highlight its crucial role in US efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Repeating North Korean arguments, Trump said the games were "provocative" to Pyongyang and added that they were "very expensive".

Abraham Denmark of the Wilson Center warned a congressional hearing: "Considering North Korea's repeated history of violating past agreements, there is little reason to trust them this time". "I wouldn't expect that at this point". Those priorities, from China's perspective, would be to ensure that Beijing is included in any in peace treaty talks and for creating an environment on the Korean Peninsula that will make it unnecessary for U.S. troops to remain.

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The Singapore meeting resulted in a surprise announcement of a US suspension of military drills with its South Korean ally, a goal long pursued by Beijing and Pyongyang. North Korea's posturing could be China's way of leveraging its involvement in negotiations versus the $50 Billion worth of tariffs imposed by Trump's administration.

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