Joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea will continue, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday after missile tests and calls for North Korea to cancel the drills.
The affirmation of the annual joint exercises came in the midst of a sequence of missile launches by North Korea, one of which it called a special warning to South Korean warmongers about the scheduled drills.
But despite Pyongyang’s warning that the exercises could also derail further talks with Washington over its nuclear and missile programs in the long-running diplomatic process, the senior U.S. official said there is no adjustment or change in plans that we are conscious of.
We have to do two stuff: we have to offer diplomats adequate room for their diplomacy and help build an atmosphere that is conducive to the discussions when they resume.
Washington stations nearly 30,000 soldiers in the South to protect it from its neighbor who invaded it in 1950. The annual exercises between the US and South Korea have constantly raised the North’s ire, which considers them as a rehearsal for an invasion of their land.
North Korea introduced two rockets on Thursday last week, followed by the firing of two more rockets from its eastern shore on Wednesday, according to the South’s army.
The missiles fired last week traveled farther than Wednesday’s— one of them going nearly 700 kilometers— and also reached a higher altitude, 50 kilometers (30 miles) compared to 30.
Resolutions of the UN Security Council prohibit the North from launching ballistic missiles.