North Korea exports coal to South Korea and Japan through Russian Federation

North Korea exports coal to South Korea and Japan through Russian Federation

North Korea exports coal to South Korea and Japan through Russian Federation

Regarding the possibility that South Korea could arm itself with nuclear weapons, the minister said the government will stick to the principle of denuclearization made in 1992 when the two Koreas pledged to abandon all nuclear weapons deployed on the Korean Peninsula, including U.S. tactical nukes.

ROK-US Defense Ministerial Meeting U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo met at Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii, on January 26, 2018.

Mattis said Song is always welcome at the Pacific Command headquarters in Honolulu.

The U.S. has welcomed recent breakthrough talks between the two Koreas but vowed to maintain its campaign of punishing economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure aimed at isolating the North Korean regime and forcing it to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

He added that the response to the threat remained "diplomacy led, backed up with military options available to ensure that our diplomats are understood to be speaking from a position of strength".

"I think it is skeptical that North Korea would actually use its nuclear weapon against the United States and South Korea", the minister said, responding to questions following his keynote speech at the Fullerton Forum hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"Song said the talks with the North are "about ultimately drawing the North into a dialogue with the United States. And at the same time, [they remain] steadfast that the worldwide economic pressure campaign can denuclearize the Korean Peninsula".

South Korea may decide to ship refined petroleum to North Korea to power an inter-Korean cultural event next week.

Although past administrations have been hesitant to hold direct talks with North Korea unless the country agreed to comply with United Nations sanctions, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have said that they would be willing to directly negotiate with Kim.

But Mattis pointed out that South Korean officials have promised to limit the talks to Olympics-related topics.

"Diplomacy should (impose) reason on Kim's reckless rhetoric and risky provocations", Mattis said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Russian Federation and China, both critical votes on the U.N. Security Council that backed the sanctions, stand accused of helping North Korea smuggle shipments out, with President Trump telling Reuters that Russian Federation was violating sanctions and the usa filing a report with the U.N. accusing Chinese ships of aiding the North Korean regime. "The worldwide pressure campaign [against North Korea] must continue", Mattis declared, adding that "our aim remains a complete and verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearization (CVID) of the Korean Peninsula".

Minister Song shared the progress made on ROK defense reform to address changes in the security environment, as well as the ROK public demand for reform.

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