Korea talks can't distract from denuclearization: Mattis

Lucy Bush
January 29, 2018

US military exercises with South Korea will be held after the Olympics as planned despite a demand for a complete suspension from the North, the Pentagon said. On the second day of its three-day visit, the eight-member advance team led by senior sports official Yun Yong-bok inspected the International Broadcasting Centre, which will house some 60 global broadcasters during the Winter Games that kick off on February 9.

Mattis' remarks came during a visit to U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii on the last leg of a trip that also brought him to Indonesia and Vietnam.

The South plans to use Kalma Airport, a military airfield in the North's eastern port city of Wonsan, to transport South Korean non-Olympic skiers to Masikryong Ski Resort, a roughly 45-minute drive from the airport.

If such plans are finalized, it would mark the first direct South Korean flight to the North since former first lady Lee Hee-ho made a rare goodwill visit to Pyongyang in 2015, the official said.

"Our response to this threat remains diplomacy led, backed up with military options available to ensure that our diplomats are understood to be speaking from a position of strength", the secretary explained.

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"Our combined militaries stand shoulder-to-shoulder ready to defend against any attack" on South Korea or the United States, he said.

This photo, provided by South Korea's unification ministry on January 26, 2018, shows Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea.

"Diplomacy should impose reason on Kim's reckless rhetoric and unsafe provocations", Mattis said, according to Reuters.

And just two days before the Winter Games kick off, the rest of the North Korean Olympic participants are due to arrive in South Korea, including a 230-member cheering squad and a 30-member Taekwondo demonstrators.

Now US Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker has again asked Beijing in "blunt" terms to expel North Korean nationals who the US says are helping Pyongyang fund its nuclear weapons programme.

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The reports come amid increasing scrutiny on North Korea's illicit shipping practices, with both the United Nations and the US expressing concern in recent resolutions that trade in the DPRK's sanctioned commodities continues under the radar.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet at a hotel near the opening ceremony venue.

The official said that South Korea needs to solve the electricity issue, but tough sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States are making it hard for Seoul to send refined oil to the North.

"We expect South Korea's real GDP to grow by 3.0% y/y through 2019", stated Scotiabank.

The agreement to form the unified team marked the first official talks between North and South Korea in two years.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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