South Korea and the United States have postponed their combined air exercises set for later this month despite the opposition of working-level officials, reportedly following the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump. “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be,” Trump tweeted Sunday (local time), apparently addressing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon!” His remarks are seen as a way to stop Pyongyang from seeking “a new path” by getting closer to China and Russia and to express his will to hold another summit with Kim. These tweets were posted in 10 hours after the two countries announced the postponement of the joint air drills, being the first response of President Trump regarding nuclear talks since negotiations in Stockholm ended without any agreement last month.
This was also the first time in about three months that Trump directly mentioned a possible meeting with Kim on Twitter. On Aug. 10, he tweeted that a letter sent by Kim included “a small apology for testing the short-range missiles,” adding, “I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!”
Some remain skeptical about whether the North will respond positively to Washington’s decision. Right after it was announced that the South Korea-U.S. flying training will be put off, North Korea took issue about the adoption of a United Nations resolution on North Korea’s human rights record, saying that it lost motivation to face the United States any longer. As the North has sought preemptive removal of any possible obstacles to the regime’s survival and development, it is also likely to be difficult for the two sides to resume the stalled talks.
Meanwhile, Suh Hoon, chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), was quoted as saying in a parliamentary inspection on Nov. 4 that the United States and North Korea may hold working-level talks in November or no later than early December. “As the two sides identified each other’s stance in their Stockholm talks on Oct. 5, the time appears to be coming for them to launch full-fledged consultations,” Suh was quoted as saying by lawmakers on the intelligence panel.
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