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In ‘Goodwill’ Gesture to North Korea, Esper States U.S.-South Korea Joint Air Exercise Is Postponed

Nov. 17, 2019 (EIRNS)—The United States and South Korea will postpone a planned joint air exercise that was criticized by North Korea, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today at a press briefing with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo in Bangkok, Thailand, where the defense ministers of ASEAN are meeting. Esper pointed out that he didn’t see the move as a concession to Pyongyang but a “goodwill gesture” that he hopes North Korea will reciprocate by returning to nuclear talks, Stars and Stripes reported.

“We have made this decision as an act of goodwill to contribute to an environment conducive to diplomacy and the advancement of peace,” Esper said at the press conference, say media reports. “We encourage [North Korea] to demonstrate the same goodwill,” he stated, urging the North “to return to the negotiating table without precondition or hesitation.”

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