Published: Tue, August 22, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Differences on North Korea Could Test US-South Korea Relationship

Differences on North Korea Could Test US-South Korea Relationship

"As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK. will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from the road chosen by itself, the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force", Kim told Guterres according to an account of the phone call given by the North Korea U.N. mission.

During last year's drills, the North successfully test-fired for the first time a submarine-launched ballistic missile ruler Kim Jong Un then praised as the "success of all successes". He's a liberal who wants to engage the North.

Kim told Guterres the resolution "constitutes a flagrant infringement upon (North Korea's) sovereignty and an open challenge to it".

"My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises", said Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Moon did still have some tough words for North Korea, which was recently slapped with strengthened United Nations Security Council sanctions after two ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) tests last month.

Despite some calls to postpone or drastically modify drills to ease the hostility on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. and South Korean military officials say that the long-scheduled exercises will go ahead as planned.

North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles has fueled a surge in tension across the region. There will be no field training during the exercise.

It's nearly certain that this year's drills will trigger some kind of reaction from North Korea.

Guterres said on Wednesday it was time to "dial down rhetoric and dial up diplomacy" on North Korea and that he had told Russia, Japan, the United States, China and North and South Korea that he was available to help broker talks.

If this is right, expect the usual propaganda belligerence in state media or low-level provocations like artillery and short-range missile drills.

The flight path of the North Korean missile test would cross that part of the country.

But others think the North might use the drills as an excuse to conduct another ICBM test or maybe even act on its threat to lob missiles into the waters near Guam.

Moon insisted the US leader's remarks had been aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea, instead of signaling an imminent military action against the reclusive state.

"North Korea is probably looking at all the cards it has to maximize pressure against the United States, and the drills provide a good opportunity to do it", Cheon said.

"I do not necessarily believe that showed his determination to take military options", the South's president added in comments carried by Yonhap News Agency, also insisting the USA can not start a war on the Korean Peninsula anyway without Seoul's consent.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula amid fears that heightened animosity could lead to real fighting.

"We are prepared, we are prepared militarily, we are prepared with our allies to respond, if that is necessary". North Korea claims it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters just off the island of Guam, where about 7,000 USA troops are based.

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