S.Korea, US kick off joint annual war game amid de-escalating tension
22 Août, 2017, 09:44 | Author: Claudine Rigal
SEOUL - The United States and South Korea began their annual joint military exercises Monday, while North Korea warned that the drills will deepen tensions on the Korean Peninsula by "throwing fuel onto fire".
"We have no intention of raising military tensions on the Korean Peninsula", President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said Monday.
Warning of an "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war" on the peninsula, it added: "If the USA is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else's doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever".
"But he said even the slightest military action will lead to a clash between the South and North, and it will threaten many lives of not only South Koreans but foreigners, including USA forces stationed in South Korea", Park Soo-hyun, a spokesman for Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, said at a press briefing. It was the same as last year's.
'The Australian government had better devote time and energy to maintaining peace of its own country, instead of forgetting the lessons learned in the past and joining the U.S. in the moves for nuclear war.
North Korea's missile program is banned by United Nations resolutions.
North and South Korea are technically still at war after the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. "North Korea should not use this as a pretext for provocation".
The rogue state says "counter-measures of justice" will be enforced if Australia continues "blindly following" the US-led military presence in the area.
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Combative rhetoric between the nations spiked after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the USA within range, sparking an intense warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North.
Tensions eased after U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that top DPRK leader Kim Jon Un made a "wise and well reasoned" decision not to fire missiles targeting the waters off the U.S. island of Guam.
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The United States also describes them as "defensive in nature", a term North Korean state media has dismissed as a "deceptive mask".
There will be no field training during the current exercise, according to U.S. Forces Korea.
About 17,500 USA service members are participating in the exercise this month, down from 25,000 past year, according to the Pentagon.
About 25 Australian soldiers have taken part in the military exercise involving over 80,000 troops.
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That sparked a grim warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain " fire and fury " on the North. Kim said he would consider sending missiles into the waters off the coast of Guam in "mid-August".
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The current tensions in the Korean peninsula started increasing following multiple missile tests by North Korea. He said Thursday that Trump agreed to consult South Korea before taking any military action against Pyongyang.
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