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U.S. agrees not to hold joint training with ROK during Olympics

All papers reported that President Trump and ROK President Moon spoke by phone on Thursday and agreed not to conduct annual bilateral joint exercises during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February on the condition that the DPRK refrains from provocations. In response to Moon’s explanation of the status of inter-Korean dialogue, President Trump reportedly said: “I don’t mind you saying military training won’t be conducted during the Olympics…. Please let me know whenever you need help on dialogue with North Korea. The United States supports you one hundred percent.” According to Asahi, the U.S. leader reportedly confirmed that he will send a high-level U.S. delegation including his family members to the Olympics.

 

Asahi wrote that the teleconference was aimed at reminding North Korea, China, and Russia that reconciliation between the Moon administration and the Kim regime will not affect trilateral cooperation between the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. Nikkei said by postponing the planned exercise with South Korea, President Trump is perhaps hoping to test North Korea’s sincerity toward dialogue, adding that Washington and Tokyo are still concerned that Seoul will be tempted to ease pressure on its neighbor in response to Kim Jong Un’s peace overture. Mainichi noted that the U.S. leader offered “support” for realizing inter-Korean dialogue by heeding Seoul’s request for postponement of the drill.

 

In a related development, most papers took up a tweet by President Trump on the mounting mood of rapprochement between South and North Korea.

 

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