Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 16th, 2019

Major US-South Korea Air Exercise Postponed, Described by US as an ‘Act of Goodwill’ to Pyongyang

Major US-South Korea Air Exercise  Postponed, Described by US as an ‘Act of Goodwill’ to Pyongyang

WASHINGTON - The United States and South Korea shelved aerial drills that were set to kick off later in November and were earlier described by Pyongyang as provocative, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Sunday.
At a press briefing with his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo in Bangkok, Esper insisted the move was not “a concession” to his partner country’s neighbor and argued the postponement was rather a diplomatic gesture in a hope to bring new life into the gridlocked denuclearization talks. “We have made this decision as an act of goodwill to contribute to an environment conducive to diplomacy and the advancement of peace,” Esper said.
No new date for the training has been set. Previously, Seoul and Washington had scaled down the exercise from the grandiose Vigilant Ace drills to a more modest Combined Flying Training Event, for the second year in a row.
US Defense Secretary urged Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table and hinted the delay with the exercise could be considered a part of a deal, term frequently used by Trump’s administration for diplomatic talks. “I see this as a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace, to facilitate a political agreement, a deal if you will,” he said.
Last month, North Korea walked away from the formal denuclearization talks with the United States in Sweden. Country’s foreign ministry added that it had “no intention to hold such sickening negotiations before the U.S. takes a substantial step to completely and irreversibly abandon the hostile policy” against North Korea.
A less obvious sign of softening of the US policy towards North Korea played out on Thursday in the United Nations, when the assembly adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations in North Korea. The document was sponsored by the European Union and joined by the United States and others. However, South Korea decided to withdraw from the list of sponsors, for the first time since 2008, the period of Seoul’s Sunshine Policy towards North Korea. North Korea dubbed the resolution as “a political provocation” of the US. (RT)