On Wednesday, the US Ambassador to South Korea said, the US and South Korea are to no longer put off joint military drills, after keeping the exercises on ice during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,
Also on Tuesday, Moon Chung-in Special Adviser on Security & Diplomacy to South Korean President Moon Jae-in said whilst in Washington that drills will resume in the first week of April.
A few close officials close to President Moon, as well as some members of his ruling Democratic Party, have called for postponing or scaling down the drills, which North Korea opposes. But Marc Knapper, the acting US ambassador, told reporters that the alliance would take necessary measures to maintain deterrence, and that the exercises are the only way to do that.
Knapper also said improvement in relations between the Korea’s and the denuclearisation of the North should go hand in hand, suggesting that dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang should not leave the nuclear issue unresolved.
The acting ambassador also warned against letting the North use potential talks with the U.S. to buy time for nuclear weapons development — a tactic the regime has employed in the past. He said such talks would only be possible once the North shows a willingness to discuss denuclearisation.