S.Korea, US Drills Not Beneficial For Peninsula, Says China

22 Août, 2017, 09:40 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • US and S. Korean troops start drills amid N. Korea standoff

"We can't fight against the North with bare hands", said Rep. Jeong Yong-ki, a spokesman for the main opposition Liberty Party Korea. "North Korea should not use this as a pretext for provocation". They were not deployed in the exercises past year.

U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly hinted at possible military action against the reclusive North after Pyongyang said it may consider launching ballistic missiles toward the U.S. -controlled island of Guam. About 17,500 USA service members will participate, with about 3,000 coming from installations outside South Korea.

As opposed to the Liberty Party's proposal of bringing United States nuclear weapons back here, the idea calls for the USA granting South Korea a right to use U.S. nuclear assets operating outside the peninsula, such as nuclear-powered submarines or fighter jets carrying nuclear bombs, when the need arises.

The need for a nuclear deterrent was echoed even from a former security advisor to President Moon Jae-in, a liberal favoring re-engagement with the North and nuclear disarmament of both Koreas.

China's Foreign Ministry said that military exercises between South Korean and USA forces were not beneficial to the easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Moon made the remarks at a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae with a bipartisan group of USA lawmakers including Sens.

"If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret bitterly", said General Jeong Kyeong-Doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his inauguration speech.

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If North Korea uses the drills this week as a reason to launch missiles around Guam or elsewhere, it could set off a new cycle of escalation. The report was refuted, however, by US Vice President Michael Pence during his visit here April.

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis.

Impoverished North Korea hates the drills in part because it must frequently respond with its own expensive displays of military might.

"In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities", he said.

Moon, who took office in May, announced on his 100th day in office that US and South Korean policies are aligned on North Korea. "If we brought back the United States tactical nuclear weapon, it would be like giving the North the reason to possess nuclear weapons".

Despite the hurdles, putting back U.S. tactical nuclear weapons might be the only way to striking a "balance of fear" with North Korea and prevent attacks from the de-facto nuclear state, some analysts asserted.

North Korea has previously issued similar warlike rhetoric whenever US and South Korean troops conducted major joint exercises.An unprompted direct attack is extremely unlikely because the United States vastly outguns Pyongyang. An official from U.S. Forces Korea, who didn't want to be named citing office rules, said that the number of participating American troops can marginally change depending on how training events are designed and that the lower number this year doesn't represent an effort to downsize the drills. Analysts say it would be only a matter of time for the North to achieve its long-stated goal of acquiring a nuclear missile that can strike anywhere in the United States.

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