Pyongyang Scores Diplomatic Victory After US & South Korea Agree Not To Hold Military Drills During Olympics

One month ago, in what appeared to be an imminent diplomatic victory for North Korea's president Kim Jong-Un, we reported  that Kim's regime may have "successfully bluffed its way into getting the US to stop holding massive army drills with South Korea's army." As the FT further noted, South Korea asked the US to "delay" joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics, in order to lower the chances that North Korea takes provocative actions during the Pyeongchang Games, which Seoul wants to use to showcase the country’s development.

Well, if it was North Korea's intention to bluff its way into blocking joint military drills off the Korean peninsula, it succeeded because as the WSJ reports, President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed not to hold springtime military exercises during the Olympics, the South Korean president’s office said Thursday, a move that could cool tensions with North Korea.

The agreement came during a 30-minute phone call between the two presidents, Seoul’s presidential Blue House said in a statement.

As noted last month, Moon had requested the U.S. delay the annual exercises, which Pyongyang has railed against, so they don’t coincide with the Paralympics, which end on Mar. 18. Meanwhile, disagreement has been brewing between Seoul and Washington over how to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program. The U.S. late Wednesday in Washington requested South Korea arrange the call, an official at the Blue House said, declining to comment further.

The detente took place in the past 48 hours, however, when the Moon administration seized on an opening from North Korea to propose a face-to-face meeting next week to discuss its atomic weapons program and an announcement by Kim that he would consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang next month.

“We will closely cooperate with the U.S. in any talks with the North, and strongly believe inter-Korean talks will help create a mood desirable for U.S.-North Korea talks aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear weapons issue,” Moon said in the call, according to the Blue House, which also said that Trump said "the U.S. supports Mr. Moon 100%."

The statement avoids another potentially embarrassing diplomatic fiasco: as the WSJ notes, the talks have emerged as a point of tension. Seoul has tried to dispel rumors that it approached the North without consulting the U.S.

It has also tried to assuage concerns that talks could lead to a cancellation of the springtime military exercises.

“The South Korean government disagrees with the idea of cancelling the military exercises in return for the North halting its nuclear weapons program,” South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Roh Kyu-deok said in a press briefing Thursday. The South also consulted the U.S. through diplomatic channels before proposing talks on Tuesday, he added.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the South would aim to better relations with the North, while also cooperating with global efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

The South Korean defense ministry in a separate briefing Thursday dismissed reports that the North could be preparing a missile launch, saying the South had not detected any unusual activities hinting a launch was near, declining to comment further.

* * *

Meanwhile, Trump did everything in his power to save face in light of the detente between the two Koreas by trying to take credit for the apparent thawing of diplomatic tensions between the two nations, stating that his “firm and strong” stance has enabled talks.

Trump, who has openly traded insults with Kim and once suggested North Korea’s long-range missile program should be met with “fire and fury,” tweeted on Thursday that his approach to the delicate situation had fostered an environment for talks.

Slamming "failed experts," Trump asked if the recent communication between North and South Korea would really be happening without his involvement. “Fools, but talks are a good thing,” the US president added.


takeaction RawPawg Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:29 Permalink

Kim Jon knows he is backed into a corner....what else is he going to do?  This would not have happened with Hillary.  Can you imagine?

Have you seen the new masks of Kim on Ebay.  I just ordered one for fun.

NOTE: I have no interest in showing you this...just fun.  For $17 bucks...will get a lot of laughs.  I got a Putin one also.…


In reply to by RawPawg

Retired Guy takeaction Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:55 Permalink

Looks more like Trump is backed in the corner. He needs South Korea on board for a war. The South wanting to live should not be a surprise. Like Vietnam we may well see unification while the USA loses face for a while. The Koreans care more about all this than the USA. It makes sense that they settle. If Americans understood the true meaning of EMP (90% death) they would view a lose for the war mongers as a win for the people.

In reply to by takeaction

Deep Snorkeler Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:26 Permalink

Message From Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, WPK

1. Trump's emotional anomalies are evolving extreme

2. you are victims of perception management

3. your future is a repetition of Trump's past

4. Americans live in a world of trashy tabloid fiction

5. your readings are absurd clickbait stuff

MEFOBILLS Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:31 Permalink

The art of the deal, in a few words:  Good Cop, Bad Cop.

Trump Bad Cop, Tillerson good  Cop.  Trump bad Cop, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha  good Cop. 

Fecund Stench Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:33 Permalink

Just as the Orange Swan took credit for Russia mopping up ISIS in Syria, so does he take credit for Russia placing S-400s and China mobilizing troops at the borders.

CatInTheHat Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:38 Permalink

The ZIONISTS would never allow bi annual military exercises to stop because it is provocative to the North.

If more countries would go around the US to broker diplomacy, alot of this might be avoidable. Or is that a pipe dream?

US military heads are exploding about now 

Time to turn attention to destroying Iran and continue our OUTRAGEOUS war crimes in Yemen...

WTFUD Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:39 Permalink

Each US President becomes a greater Megalomaniac than his predecessor and in direct correlation with the increase in the Military Budget. 

Whoda thunk it?

east of eden Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

The last part of the message was added by your friendly neighbourhood American Ambassador, because we all know that engaging in brinkmanship, intimidation and outright lawlessness is the purview of the great empire.

Son of Captain Nemo Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:52 Permalink

But can America and it's military apparatus make it through a 1 month Olympics "WITHOUT" a $trillion loan package from the PRC and Russian Federation to "pay the overdue bills"?...

Crypto mining servers at Ft Meade and Palo Alto "going wild"!!!

rejected Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

And the People score not wondering if they're gonna be vaporized for three months.

Not to worry though,,, The US never tires of bullying, intimidating, and threatening.

We'll be baaaacccck!

IronForge Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:07 Permalink

Now POTUS is glory whoring.

SSDD - This was going on before he became POTUS; and War or No War, will most likely continue long after he's out of Office.

If there's going to be a War, the PRK, CHN, or an Alliance of those two will be governing the whole Peninsula.



Mike Masr Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:42 Permalink

That's a damn shame. The neocons can't hold their bi-weekly war games off of North Korea. How in the hell are we going to keep lil Kim paranoid?  (sarc)

Greed is King Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

What !, the once a year lasting 365 days a year military exercises are cancelled for the Olympics ?; crazy, that`s no way to start a war Donny T.

Get those missiles on the Chinese border quick, before the dollar falls off a cliff.