S.Korea, US gear up for war games

S.Korea, US gear up for war games

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to fire missiles into the waters near the western Pacific US island territory of Guam earlier this month, while US President Donald Trump threatened to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea.

"If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else's door far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever", the report said.

Pyongyang later said it was holding off firing towards Guam while it waited to see what the United States would do next.

"The most important task at hand is for the USA and North Korea to "hit the brakes" on their mutual needling of each other with words and actions, to lower the temperature of the tense situation and prevent the emergence of an 'August crisis, '" Wang was quoted as saying in the Tuesday conversation.

Beijing has grown increasingly exasperated with its wayward neighbour, but fears instability and the prospect of USA troops on its border in a united Korea.

Moon has repeatedly urged North Korea not to "cross the red line" but had not previously elaborated what that would constitute.

South Korean soldiers participate in an anti-terror and anti-chemical terror exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise a year ago.

The exercise is "to make certain that we're ready to defend South Korea and our allies", US Defence Secretary James Mattis told reporters Sunday.

After Kim Jong-un ramped up the pace of weapons development a year ago with numerous missile launches as well as two nuclear tests in January and September 2016, some observers had expected a sixth nuclear test as early as this January.

This year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise will include about 17,500 USA troops, about 3,000 of them from off the peninsula.

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If this is right, expect the usual propaganda belligerence in state media or low-level provocations like artillery and short-range missile drills.

North Korea has long slammed it as a rehearsal for invasion.

He was responding to remarks by a top Trump aide ruling out military action over North Korea's nuclear programme.

But US military and Trump administration officials said the 10-day military exercises set to begin Monday, would go ahead as scheduled.

In addition to South Korea and U.S. forces, UN Command forces from seven sending states including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will participate in this annual exercise. He said the military exercises are "not now on the table as part of the negotiations in any way".

Seoul used the loudspeakers as a response to two South Korean troops being seriously wounded by North Korean mines placed in the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

South Korea's Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said in an August 11 editorial that the allies could gain a bargaining chip in efforts to persuade the North into meaningful nuclear talks by halting or scaling down the joint drills.

South Korea and the United States began annual war games today, US Forces Korea said, amid heated warnings by Pyongyang that the exercises will worsen tensions in the region.

His comments about averting war echoed similar statements he made Tuesday that only South Korea could give consent to initiate any conflict with the North.

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