Pompeo rejects North Korean charges on military drills

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected charges from North Korea's Foreign Ministry that U.S

Reuters July 20, 2019 05:09:23 IST
Pompeo rejects North Korean charges on military drills

Pompeo rejects North Korean charges on military drills

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected charges from North Korea's Foreign Ministry that U.S. plans for military exercises with South Korea are in breach of agreements between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday Trump had reaffirmed in a meeting with Kim last month that joint exercises would be halted and the U.S. decision to forge ahead with them was "clearly a breach" of the two leaders' agreements at a summit in Singapore last year.

The spokesman said this was putting a resumption of nuclear talks with the United States at risk and the ministry said Washington's pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" was leading Pyongyang to reconsider its commitment to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pompeo was asked about the North Korean statements in an interview conducted on Wednesday with the EWTN Catholic television network, a transcript of which the State Department released on Friday.

"I saw those comments," Pompeo said. "I think we’re doing exactly what President Trump promised Chairman Kim we would do with respect to those exercises. I think we’re going to – we’ll get that right. I’m confident that these conversations are going to continue."

Asked if the talks with North Korea, stalled since a failed February summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi, would restart soon, Pompeo said: "I hope so."

"Chairman Kim made a commitment that they would," Pompeo added. "He said that in several weeks he would put his working-level team back together; we’re ready to go."

Trump had appeared to revitalise efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons when he met Kim on the border between the Koreas last month and said they had agreed to resume working-level talks stalled since the Hanoi summit collapsed.

Pompeo said at the time the talks would likely happen "sometime in July, ... probably in the next two or three weeks," but dates have yet to be announced and the North Korean statements have raised doubts about when - and whether - they will go ahead.

While the United States and South Korea have halted major joint exercises, long seen by North Korea as a rehearsal for war, since a pledge by Trump in Singapore. But smaller ones have continued and Washington still enforces punishing international sanctions on Pyongyang.

The Pentagon said this week it was preparing to conduct a "routine" joint training programme, but suggested the drills had been scaled back to facilitate diplomacy.

Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday that his orders were to proceed with the exercises next month.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; additional reporting by Jonathan Landay in Aspen; editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.