Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills

Charlie Simmons | 05 January, 2018, 14:41

Mr Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un have been trading barbs throughout the US President's first year in office; Mr Trump called Mr Kim "Rocket Man" multiple times and the North Korean state news agency had called the US leader a "dotard". The last time the two Koreas engaged in official talks was in December 2015.

USA and South Korean officials decided after a phone call between Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to wait to conduct the drills until after the Olympics.

Pyongyang has long viewed such drills as practice for an invasion of North Korea. South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

During the phone dialogue, Moon said South Korea will closely cooperate with the United States while having inter-Korean talks, stressing that inter-Korean talks would certainly help create an atmosphere for dialogue between the DPRK and the United States to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

Mr Trump took credit for brokering the talks on Twitter, however.

Trump tweeted early on Thursday, "Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn't firm, strong and willing to commit our total "might" against the North?"

A visitor takes picture in front of ribbons wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas.

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During the talks, the two presidents agreed not to carry out the springtime South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises, codenamed "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle", during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The Commerce Ministry said Beijing would limit exports of crude oil and refined petroleum to the North and ban outright sales of steel and industrial machinery.

"North Korea goes through phases of apparent dialogue and provocation but either way, North Korea is continuing its nuclear and missile development".

What the neighbors had to say to each other may disappoint those who looked at this moment as a turning point for the countries, which had not had any direct contact in almost two years since relations broke down over the North's missile and nuclear tests and the South's decision to close down the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex.

Earlier this week, Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington had heard reports that Pyongyang might be preparing to fire another missile.

Reuters reported that it was active Wednesday, with officials from the North placing a call to the South.

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