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Secretary Tillerson declined South Korea’s hospitality

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited South Korea on March 17. Although his South Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, invited the secretary to dinner, and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo requested a meeting with him, he declined the invitation and request reportedly because he was very busy, multiple sources on U.S.-ROK relations disclosed.

 

“We wonder if Secretary Tillerson felt no need to meet with ministers of the administration whose president was ousted,” said some government officials. However, the secretary also declined to meet with National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun from the opposition. “It seems that Secretary Tillerson needed time to prepare for a meeting with the Chinese foreign minister,” said a source concerned with the matter.

 

Meanwhile, a fleet of B-1B strategic nuke bombers took part in the ongoing U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises on March 15, multiple sources familiar with U.S.-South Korea affairs disclosed. This was the bombers’ first deployment to South Korea since their deployment in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test conducted in September last year. By demonstrating the U.S. military’s “nuclear umbrella,” both South Korea and the U.S. apparently aimed to deter the DPRK’s military provocations.

 

“The B-1Bs conducted in South Korean airspace training for a preemptive strike involving the dropping of nuclear bombs on our critical facilities,” said the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency on March 15, criticizing the training.

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