US Rejects China-backed 'Double Freeze,' to Continue Joint South-Korean Military Exercises: State Dept
16 August 2017
When asked whether military exercises were "the right thing to do" in a period of tension, Nauert simply replied: "we do these things all around the world."
United States Department of State spokesperson Heather Neuert has indicated that the U.S. has no intention of stopping its military activity on the Korean peninsula, as part of a "double freeze" plan proposed by China to de-escalate tensions and begin dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea.
"That so-called double freeze, that's not going to change. We're allowed to do it [the military excercises]. We're allowed to do it with our ally, South Korea. We will continue to do that and that's just not going to change," Neuert said at a press briefing in response to a question about North Korea's demand that the U.S. end military exercises on the peninsula.
In an effort to urge calmness in rhetoric and action, China proposed a "double freeze" which would require the U.S. to stop their joint military excercises with South Korea in order for North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as they prefer to be called, to stop future missile tests.
"There is no equivalency between what the DPRK has been engaged in – the ICBM missile tests in July, the two of those, the nuclear testing," Neuert insisted. "Compare that to the legal activity that the U.S. and South Korea is engaged with in terms of its military – joint military exercises. Those joint military exercises have taken place for a very long time. They're carried out in the spirit of the October 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty."
The spokesperson was referring to the mutual defense treaty signed by the U.S. and South Korea following the catostrophic Korean War, as it is known in the U.S. The conflict was marked by a massive U.S.-led bombing campaign, leaving the DPRK with around a third of its population and most of its infrastructure devastated.
When asked by reporters whether such military exercises were "the right thing to do" in a period of tension, Nauert simply replied that "we do these things all around the world."
"There's no moral equivalency between our interactions with South Korea and what the DPRK has done. And the international world – the world recognizes what DPRK is doing is unstable, it's unsafe, and it's flat-out wrong. Okay?" she said, emphasizing the U.S.'s position.
The DPRK announced on Tuesday that they would be putting off any plans to launch a missile into "waters near Guam," in order to see what the U.S. does.
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