South Korea has not made a decision on joint U.S. military training, but exercises should not create tensions in North Korea


Seoul — South Korea has yet to make a decision on a joint military exercise with the United States on Monday, but should raise tensions after North Korea warns South Korea that it will conduct the exercise in the midst of signs of melting relations. Said not.

South Korea and the United States regularly conduct military exercises, mainly in the spring and summer, and North Korea routinely denounces this as a rehearsal of the war.

Kim Yo-jong, a sister of North Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-un and a senior official of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, warned Seoul on Sunday that training would undermine efforts to rebuild relations.

Her warning came a few days after Pyongyang, where two South Koreans were cut off a year ago, restored the hotline, and South Korean officials repaired a tense relationship between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He said he was about to resume the summit.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Seoul and Washington are discussing training, but no decision has been made yet.

“I have nothing to comment on her remarks, but the timing and method of the exercises are uncertain,” Boo Seung-chan, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a briefing.

The allies said they would make the decision after considering the issues of COVID-19, joint defense posture, planned transfer of wartime operational control, and “supporting diplomatic efforts to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.” rice field.

Lee Jung-ju, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Unification of Seoul, who deals with the Global North and Global South, said the exercise should not be “a source of military tension in any case” without giving details.

The Pentagon also refused to comment on Kim Yo-jong’s statement. He did not comment on “preparation for planned or conducted training,” but said that the “joint training event” was a bilateral decision and that “any decision would be a mutual agreement.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State reiterated that Washington “supports North-South dialogue and involvement and welcomes recent developments related to North-South communication,” and “diplomatic and dialogue achieves complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It is essential for this. “

At the same time, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would call for full sanctions on North Korea at this week’s meeting.

An official U.S. briefing reporter prior to this week’s series of virtual regional conferences said North Korean foreign ministers are expected to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum, but Blinken, who also attends, has a particular problem.

US-Korea exercises have recently been conducted to facilitate talks between North Korea and former US President Donald Trump’s administration aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs in return for easing sanctions in the United States. It has been reduced.

However, negotiations stalled after the failure of the second Trump Kim summit in 2019.

The pandemic influenced training, and allies focused on computerized simulations to minimize on-the-job training without mobilizing US-based troops.

A senior Unification ministry official said Friday that the exercises should be postponed to help resume talks, but Prime Minister Lee declined to comment when asked if the ministry plans to make formal recommendations. ..

Last week, Prime Minister Lee said he proposed setting up a video conferencing system to facilitate dialogue between South Korea and approved a plan by two private relief groups to send humanitarian aid to North Korea.

Shin Hyun Hee