Top US general: Drills with South Korea are not up for negotiation

21 August, 2017, 08:16 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff observes an attack exercise by Chinese troops at a Chinese army base in Shenyang China Aug. 16 2017. DoD

In the latest development, the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, said the decision to "delay" the missile attack on Guam is deliberate.

"I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula", he added.

And if Kim won't give up his weapons, as experts anticipate, is the United States ready to adopt a policy of "containment", hoping to deter a nuclear North Korea from ever using them? The resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood products, which together account for one third of the country's already meager annual export revenue of $3 billion.

Images online further showed that a protest ensued.

Dunford will spend three days in China, visiting PLA units, including China's Northern Theater Command in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, which borders North Korea.

Speaking later to reporters, Dunford said the main deliverable for his trip was the signing of a framework agreement for a joint staff dialogue mechanism. "Our company has suffered more than 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in losses..."

"We will ask the Chinese suppliers who work with us if they plan on being open with their client-sometimes the final buyer won't realize their clothes are being made in North Korea".

Pyongyang has made a decision to postpone plans to fire missiles into waters off the USA island territory of Guam and will wait to see what the US does next. "In particular, the US will continue to request Chinese and Russian commitments not to provide the regime with economic lifelines and to persuade it to abandon its risky path".

However, despite the settlement, the "comfort woman" issue - which has become a staple of South Korea's nationalist movements - continues to undermine the existing relationship between the two countries.

"China is pushing for a certain [level of] compromise".

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Simmering tensions between the USA and North Korea have led to many questions around how a clash between the two would result in.

The professor lauded China for being more pragmatic than Pyongyang and Washington, both of which he said have gone from one extreme to the other with no middle ground. "I am doing everything I can at least".

In face of growing calls for China to contain North Korea, many observers in Beijing argue the world may have overestimated China's influence over Kim Jong Un, leader of the North. "It's getting more and more hard for the Chinese government to influence the North", said Cai Jian of Fudan University.

Instead, the United States has been working hard to tighten the screws on Pyongyang, by reinforcing its global isolation. This was particularly true of the military dimension of US policy in the region.

The United States and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills next week, the top US military official said on Thursday, resisting pressure from North Korea and its ally China to halt the contentious exercises.

"As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, [Pyongyang] will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table", North Korea's United Nations Ambassador Ja Song Nam told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a telephone conversation, according to North Korea's UN mission.

Experts said South Korean officials should talk tougher and lodge complaints with worldwide bodies against China's hostile campaign on trade.

China, the most important player in East Asia, has enormous geo-strategic stakes in ensuring stability along the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea, which denounces the drills as a preparation for war, has fired missiles and taken other steps in the past in response to the war games. US assurances about the character of a unified Korea are unlikely to change this.

"We can avoid a catastrophe and we must do everything possible to do that". He said he wants to ensure transparency with allies and friends in the region.



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