[Photo News] Site of North Korean soldier's defection


The Trump administration's plan to show a united front against North Korea in the Sea of Japan took a step back this week as South Korea rejected a US proposal to conduct a trilateral military exercise that would have included participation from Japan.

The major exercise will be the first time the three carriers have operated together in the Western Pacific since 2006 and 2007, when they carried out drills off the coast of Guam.

There were 124 South Korean companies that had been involved in the Kaesong park, with affiliated businesses counting up to over 5,000.

Joseph Yun will meet with Lee Do-hoon, the special representative for peace and security affairs on the Korean Peninsula, to discuss the security situation here, including North Korean nuclear issues, while attending events hosted by the US Embassy in Seoul.

"The North appeared to show a measured response to Trump's visit.There was no threat of military action and the North's insults against Trump seemed to be reduced", Baik Tae-hyun, ministry spokesperson, said at a regular press briefing. "The military is maintaining a full readiness", the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement said.

The presidency has changed since, from the former Park Geun-hye administration to the incumbent Moon Jae-in's, but the tension is continuing to build up with North's reluctance to denuclearize and come forward for dialogue.

The drills were created to simulate the interception of nuclear-related materials destined for North Korea. He previously said in August that "the best signal" Pyongyang could give Washington as willingness for talks is to stop military provocations.

Taking part in the exercise are three aircraft carriers - the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz - eleven USA destroyers as well as seven South Korean vessels, two of which are also destroyers.

He has reportedly used it to stay in contact with North Korea's ambassador to the UN, Pak Song-il, in Pyongyang.

But, according to Japanese and South Korean diplomatic sources, the proposal to include Japan's Self-Defense Forces was met with resistance from Seoul, possibly out of concern for relations with China.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said, requesting anonymity, citing department rules.

Instead, the US and South Korean navies began a four-day bilateral military exercise on Saturday.

The ships accompanying the carriers included destroyers and cruisers equipped with the Aegis system as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles.