Executive Intelligence Review


Kim Jong-un ‘Understands’ U.S.-R.O.K. Military Exercises Not Pausing

March 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—One of the more remarkable items in the six-point statement released, yesterday, by the South Korean delegation to Pyongyang, is the part which attributes to Kim Jong-un the statement that he “understands” that U.S.-South Korean military drills will go on and that they can’t be stopped immediately. This, reports the Hankyoreh newspaper, represents a departure from the hardline stance that the North has often taken toward the exercises, which it frequently denounces as “nuclear war games.”

Kim’s remarks appear to mean that he will not let these yearly exercises spoil the mood for dialogue, says Hankyoreh. “I explained [to North Korea] that it was not feasible to abruptly halt our exercises with the U.S. Kim Jong-un had already been briefed and was aware of our position. I didn’t need to provide any further explanation,” National Security Office director Chung Eui-yong said, yesterday, at the release of the six-point statement. This suggests that Kim is fully aware that the South Korea-U.S. exercises cannot be halted or delayed again.

“It’s a bold statement by Kim to say he understands why the South Korea-U.S. military exercises have to held on the scale of previous years. He has made up his mind to build momentum for dialogue and increase the possibility of talks with the U.S.,”

Jeong Se-hyun, a former South Korean Minister of Unification, told Hankyoreh. This flexible stance—the willingness to tackle the military threat in the long run—has bought the South Korean government a little more time for shifting affairs on the Korean Peninsula toward dialogue, Jeong said.