North Korea's Kim in China; U.S., South Korea suspend military drill

North Korea's Kim in China; U.S., South Korea suspend military drill

North Korea's Kim in China; U.S., South Korea suspend military drill

Kim's visit to China comes also as the United States and South Korea announced that they would be cancelling the 2018 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises, scheduled originally for August.

A vehicle believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un drives down Chang'an Avenue towards Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China June 19, 2018.

-South Korean joint military drills, which U.S. President Donald Trump proposed following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this month.

North Korea keeps much of its its armory of missiles, mostly variants of the Soviet scud and some capable of bearing nuclear warheads, trained on South Korean cities, notably the capital Seoul which is only 35 miles from North Korea.

Any reduction in tensions on its doorstep is welcome for China, North Korea's closest ally, which accounts for around 90 per cent of Pyongyang's trade.

There are already signs of disagreement between the two sides of the pace and sequence of North Korea's disarmament and sanctions relief. Key Resolve is a command and control exercises that relies on computer simulation, and involves about 12,000 US troops and 10,000 South Koreans.

Police tightened security along Beijing's main Changan Avenue, which leads to the Great Hall of the People where Chinese leaders usually meet visiting heads of state, and also outside the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Kim stayed with his wife during a visit in March. "No decisions on subsequent wargames have been made", she said.

The meeting would have been unthinkable past year when tensions escalated between the two countries after North Korea came into action to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of targetting the United States.

An expert in the field says this could reflect China's efforts to establish a solid role for itself on issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea's Kim in China; U.S., South Korea suspend military drill
North Korea's Kim in China; U.S., South Korea suspend military drill

Of the Japanese respondents, the largest proportion, at 27.8 percent, said they were unsure about what would happen, followed by 21.6 percent who said North and South Korea would continue to exist as they do now.

Rather than use a North Korean plane to reach the Singapore summit, Kim used an Air China plane that was lent to him.

Beijing has repeatedly called for a "dual-track and suspension for suspension" approach where the North would stop its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the USA and South Korea halting military exercises.

His announcement appeared to catch USA defense officials by surprise, and his comments ran counter to long-held American arguments that the exercises are critical for effective operations with allies and are defensive in nature.

South Korea will closely monitor the expected high-level talks between the North and the U.S. to follow up on the Singapore accord. "South Korean military maneuvers", according to a North Korean source in Beijing.

Trump then claimed that suspending the drills would save the United States "a tremendous amount of money, before calling them 'provocative".

Yonhap also reported on Sunday that during military talks between the two Koreas on Thursday, South Korean officials asked their northern counterparts to relocate artillery 30 to 40 kilometers away from the heavily fortified military demarcation line that divides the two countries.

At Singapore summit, Kim Un Jong reaffirmed his commitment to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in a joint statement with Trump.

It was later combined with South Korea's Ulchi exercise, which was launched in the wake of a North Korean infiltration in 1968.

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