South Korea, US resume military drills ahead of nuclear talks

  • South Korea, US resume military drills ahead of nuclear talks

South Korea, US resume military drills ahead of nuclear talks

Resumed denuclearization talks are scheduled in NY this week between Secretary of State Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong-chol.

The two possible meetings will take place before the second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump on North Korea's denuclearization process. Decisions over major military exercises for next year are expected to be made by the end of the year.

As a latest sign of increasing frustration, the North's foreign ministry issued a statement on Friday threatening to resume building nuclear weapons unless USA ends sanctions against Pyongyang.

In its response Sunday, the North's Korean Association for Human Rights Studies said the "preposterous" report was "a part of political scheme fabricated by the hostile tarnish the image of the DPRK", the state Korean Central News Agency reported, using the country's official acronym.

In recent weeks, North Korea has pressed more sharply for what it sees as reciprocal concessions by the United States and other countries.

The North Korean foreign ministry, in its latest statement, said, "The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible".

"North Korean leader intends to prove that the DPRK will decide independently with whom his country to be friends and what worldwide document was signed, noted, in particular, he said".

But the progress has fallen well short of the promise of the summit, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearization", and Pyongyang condemning USA demands as "gangster-like".

North Korea has not tested a ballistic missile or nuclear weapon for almost a year, and has said it closed its main nuclear test site and plans to dismantle several more facilities. That said, the "very focused" on the goal of eliminating the nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang, Mr. Pompeo said. He also declared that the North would stop nuclear and long-range missile tests.

But Pompeo maintained that the United States will not lift any sanctions until there is a full and verifiable denuclearization.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's continuing efforts to engage with North Korea have fanned U.S. concerns that Seoul could weaken pressure on North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

"With Kim's visit to South Korea also planned this year, North Korea appears to be dwelling long on the time of his Russian trip", Woo said.