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North Korea-US Relations on Shaky Ground? Mattis Says US Won't Suspend Drills with S Korea After All

08-29-2018
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The United States military plans to resume joint exercises with South Korea that were halted by President Donald Trump during his summit in June with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Defense Secretary James Mattis made the announcement Tuesday, which some claim is another sign that prospects for any nuclear agreement are dimming.

"We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises," said Mattis.

Some 28,000 US military personnel remain stationed in and around South Korea.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says the military continues to play a role in helping to enforce in diplomatic and economic sanctions.
 
"We are also conducting air and maritime operations to disrupt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel in violation of UN sanctions against the DPRK. We are doing this in conjunction of allies and partners," said Gen. Dunford.

Mattis did say his department will work very closely with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toward the goal of ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.
 
"The bottom line is there was progress made; the whole world saw that progress when the two leaders sat down," Mattis said. "We also knew very clearly this was going to be a long and challenging effort to negotiate this away. As you know, that war began in 1950 and has never ended."

President Donald Trump reportedly called off Pompeo's trip to North Korea after receiving a mysterious and hostile letter from Kim's government.

CBN News has uncovered that Pompeo received the letter from Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, on Friday morning.

North Korea has warned that denuclearization talks are "again at stake and may fall apart," leading to the resumption of "nuclear and missile activities."

Pompeo reportedly then showed the missive to Trump. Currently, officials are declining to comment on the contents of the message and how it was transmitted.

On Monday, North Korea's state newspaper accused the US of plotting to "unleash a war" on Pyongyang while continuing to negotiate "with a smile on its face."

Sunday's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the Worker's Party of Korea, claims the United States is plotting with Japan and that the two nations were running drills aimed at invading Pyongyang.

The paper also claimed that the USS Michigan, a nuclear Navy submarine, transported Green Berets and other special forces from Okinawa, Japan, to the Jinhae naval base in South Korea in late July or early August.

The report stated, "The United States would be sadly mistaken if it thinks that it can browbeat someone through trite 'gunboat diplomacy' which it used to employ as an almighty weapon in the past."

US Forces Japan told CBN News it's "not aware of the drills" mentioned in North Korean media reports.

A spokesperson said, "In general, US aircraft and ships operate from Japan every day in support of our commitments to our allies and partners in the region and in the interests of regional peace and security."

North Korean leaders could be lashing out after President Trump stopped plans for Pompeo to make what would have been his fourth visit to North Korea, citing insufficient progress on the issue of denuclearization.
 
Meanwhile, satellite imagery of the country suggests that North Korea may actually be continuing or increasing its production of nuclear material.

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