South Korea and US urge Pyongyang to implement denuclearisation pledges

South Korea and US urge Pyongyang to implement denuclearisation pledges
South Korea Koreas Tensions War Anniversary

South Korea and the United States will continue to push for complete denuclearisation of North Korea.

Their joint statement came a day after North Korea abruptly announced it would suspend steps that would have nullified 2018 tension-reduction deals and further raised animosities on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said they “remain firmly committed to defending the hard-fought peace on the Korean Peninsula, to include supporting ongoing diplomatic efforts for the complete denuclearisation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.

The pair also called on North Korea to “meet its commitments in alignment with” the joint statements issued after US-North Korea summit talks in Singapore in June 2018 and inter-Korean talks in September 2018.

Participants wearing face masks sit while maintaining social distancing during a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in Gwangju, South Korea (Cho Nam-soo/Yonhap via AP)

In the joint statement issued after the Singapore summit with US President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country “commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” without specifying how and when disarmament steps would take place.

In recent weeks, North Korea turned to provocations targeting South Korea.

It cut off all communication lines with South Korea, blew up a Seoul-built liaison office on its territory and threatened to take steps to nullity the 2018 deals meant to ease tensions at the border.

Experts say North Korea is trying to pressure Seoul and Washington over the stalled nuclear diplomacy.

Among the threatened North Korean steps were resuming military drills, reinstalling guard posts, sending troops to closed inter-Korean cooperation sites along their heavily fortified border with South Korea, as well as flying propaganda leaflets toward the South.

On Wednesday, however, the North said Mr Kim had put off taking such action after military leaders “took stock of the prevailing situation”.

Experts said North Korea may be trying to leave room for South Korean concessions or may be worried about unexpectedly stronger responses from Seoul, whose help it may need again when it wants to reach out to the United States for future talks.

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