2021: Peace Network Newsletter Issue 2021-8
Peace Network Korea
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network
Peace Network Newsletter, 2021-8
Small steps, Road to peace
S. Korea, U.S. supposed to stage joint outdoor drills througbout year: defense ministry
South Korea and the United States are supposed to stage combined outdoor ruilitary drills throughout the year, not during specific periods oftime, Seoul's defense ministry said Tuesday. Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan made the remarks in an ans wer to a reporter' s question about when and how the two sides would stage joint real maneuvers this year as their ongoing springtime exercise does not include such outdoor programs. "After the summit between the U.S. and North Korea in Singapore in June 2018, South Korea and the U.S. have adjusted combined exercises to support diplomatic efforts for the denuclearization of and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula, "Boo told a regular briefing." As part of such efforts, it is our principle that outdoor drills are supposed to be conducted evenly all the year round, rather than intensively during specific times," he added. Since 2019, their major combined exercises, which usually take place twice a year, have not included outdoor drills. On Tuesday, Seoul and Washington kicked off their springtime computer-simulated Combined Command Post Training (CCPT), which is to run through March 18. Tue Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that the exercise involves a "minimum level of troops" and that no outdoor drills will take place. lt is out of "consideration of related factors comprehensively," such as the COVID-19 situation and peace efforts with North Korea. Tue two countries conducted a total of 172 joint training sessions in South Korea last year, down from 191 in 2019, according to the data by the ministry. Pyongyang has long denounced such drills as a rehearsal for invasion and dernanded a halt to the prograrns. lt has not made any official responses to the ongoing exercise until now.
US defense cbief sbortlists Nortb Korea as 'nation-state tbreat'
U.S. Secretary ofDefense Lloyd Austin on Thursday included North Korea in only a handful of countries that pose threats to the United States and its allies. lt marked the first time the U.S. defense chief addressed the North Korean is.sue since taking office in late January. "Even as we address accelerating competition by China, we will ensure that we rernain fully ready to respond to and effectively deter nation-state threats ernanatlng from Russia, Iran, and North Korea," Austin said in a message to U.S. forces, released by his department. "We will continue to maintain credible deterrence against advanced threats, and we will right-size our missions around the world in a transparent and principled manner," he added. ( ... ) "We will do so in a way that is based on a sober assessment of our strategic needs and recognize the importance ofbuilding and sustaining a strong workforce and unity within our Department, across the Nation and \v1th our allies and partners around the world," he added.
South Korea yet to finalize position on UN resolution on Nortb Korea's human rigbts:
South Korea has yet to finalize its position on this year's U.N. resolution condernning North Korea s human rights abuses, but it will continue communication with the United States and others on the matter, the foreign ministry said Thursday. Tue ministry's comment came as Seoul's stance on co-sponsoring the resolution drew attention this week after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinlcen expressed support for the U.N. Human Rights Council's role in addressing human rights violations by North Korea in his speech to the council's session. "Our government's po sition in relation to the resolution has yet to be finalized. But with regard to the issue, we will continue to communicate with the international community, including the United States," ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sarn said in a press briefing. Choi also cited the rernarks by Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon in the U.N. session that Seoul has 11profound interest11 in the human rights situation in N orth Korea. "Tue govemment has been making efforts so far in promoting the human rights situation for North Korean people "ith cooperation from the international community," the spokesperson said. South Korea had co-sponsored the resolution since 2009 but did not join as a co-sponsor for the past two years, largely citing the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Tue resolution, led by the European Union, urges the North's leadership to prevent crimes against human rights and bring abusers to account. Tue U.S. has announced that it will seek its return to the U.N. Human Rights Council, undoing the former Donald Trun1p administration's withdrawal from the council in 2018.
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