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Pentagon confirms halt of August war games with South Korea

19 June, 2018, 20:18 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Kim Jong Un visits The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, June 11, 2018. Since making his first known trips out of North Korea since taking up the leadership of the country in 2011 earlier this year, Kim has met Xi twice and South Korean President Moon Jae-in twice.

Following the Kim-Trump summit, China hinted that some sanctions relief could be considered if North Korea takes denuclearization steps, and that for Beijing the sanctions are not the goal in themselves. Spokeswoman Dana White said the two countries' senior defense officials were set to meet later this week, including the US' Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Even if Kim hears "no" for the time being, it's not going to be too hard for North Korea to play China and the U.S. against each other in the future.

The outing comes as China has sought to strengthen its role as a mediator between the USA and North Korea, where Beijing claims compelling security and economic interests. Their willingness to keep a hard line on economic sanctions might get impacted by the burgeoning trade war between the USA and China, especially since it's targeted at Beijing's CM2025 strategy for dominance in the region.

Mr Trump publicly said last week that he gave his "very direct number" to Mr Kim.

Meanwhile, the United States and South Korea have confirmed they have suspended planning for their next joint military drills. That move is seen as potentially weakening defenses and diplomacy among America's Asian allies, while bolstering China and Russian Federation.

Those exercises usually involve troops, warplanes, ships and other military weapons from USA bases around the world.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Kim's visit to China highlights the "constructive role" Beijing could play in disarming North Korea.

The pair also signed an agreement in which, according to global media, North Korea has reaffirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.

Kim is expected to fly into Beijing and security preparations are already underway, Japan's Nikkei business daily quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

Xi said he was pleased to see North Korea's decision to promote economic reforms, adding that China's own reform and opening up process had meant the Chinese people's eyes had been open to the world.

"This is an improvement".

"I think that China convinced North Korea that high-profile trips like this can no longer be kept secret for so long", said Yang, the Seoul analyst.

He added that the frequency of Kim's visits was "unprecedented".

Kim Jong Un heads to China following landmark summit with Trump. President Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, and China's government has said it will respond in kind. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on US exports, a move that drew the president's ire.

"The United States is in a position to keep its commitment to its allied nations' defense and our understanding is there is no change to the U.S. commitment to the Japan-U.S. alliance and the structure of American troops stationed in Japan", Suga was quoted as saying.

A trade war with the USA could make it less attractive for China to use its influence over North Korea to help the US achieve its objectives of denuclearization.



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