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U.S., Korea To Postpone War Games

Jan. 4, 2018 (EIRNS)—The United States and South Korea agreed today to postpone the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, which usually take place in the February-March timeframe, until after the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, which conclude on March 18. If North Korea responds by suspending military tests, then the "dual suspension" will be in effect, which Russia and China—and Lyndon and Helga LaRouche—say is required to move to negotiations for a durable settlement.

It is noteworthy that EIR Asia specialist Michael Billington had said just one week ago that such breakthroughs were on the way in Korea, not because of any local factors, but due to the global paradigm-shift for which we have been fighting. His statement was followed by the move for North-South talks, and then the suspension of the U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

Today’s announcement came after a telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in this morning, U.S. East Coast time. According to the South Korean Presidential Blue House, the two leaders agreed to collaborate in ensuring the success of the games, and to delay planned drills to enable the two nations’ militaries to focus on safeguarding security in the region during the games, reported the Korea Herald. Moon also reportedly stressed the importance of inter-Korean talks.

"(Seoul) will work closely with the U.S. in the process of inter-Korean talks, and we [South Korea] firmly believe that inter-Korean talks are helpful to establishing an atmosphere of dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea,"

Moon was quoted by the Blue House.

Afterwards, Trump took credit for the opening of the possibility of North-South talks that emerged this week.

"Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ’might’ against the North,"

Trump tweeted, adding that "talks are a good thing!"

The breakthrough on the military exercises came after Pyongyang reopened the North-South communications line through the Panmunjon truce village. The South Korean government immediately responded with an offer of high level talks for Jan. 8. North Korea has yet to respond to the South Korean proposal, leaving some uncertainty as to the agenda and the venue of the talks.

"Factors such as the time, location and agenda of the talks are open for now. [The ministry] will monitor the North’s responses with regards to what kind of talks will be held,"

an official of South Korea’s Unification Ministry said earlier today. As for the agenda, the announcement by Ri Son-gwon, the North’s top official for inter-Korean relations, on Wednesday appeared to hint that the it will focus on North Korea’s participation in the Olympics. However, says the Korea Herald, Ri’s announcement left open the possibility of discussions on a wider range of issues, including U.S.-South Korean military relations.