N Korea warns USA, S Korea against joint war exercise

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Despite some calls to postpone or drastically modify drills to ease the hostility on the Korean Peninsula, US and South Korean military officials say that the long-scheduled exercises will go ahead as planned.

"The U.S. has no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea", Mattis and Tillerson wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week.

Pyongyang has often staged provocations as a show of force against past military drills, such as missile launches or movements of its arsenal and troops along the tense border. Moon, elected to replace impeached president Park Geun- Hye, came into office in May and has since had to deal with tensions over the North's missile and nuclear programmes.

And if Kim won't give up his weapons, as experts anticipate, is the United States ready to adopt a policy of "containment", hoping to deter a nuclear North Korea from ever using them?

"In order to make a nuclear weapon deployable it has to be small and light, but North Korea doesn't seem to have this technology", he said. Just last week, Trump pledged to answer North Korean aggression with "fire and fury".

The new sanctions target the exports of seafood, coal, iron ore, iron, lead and lead ore which will see North Korea's $3bn (£2.3bn) annual export revenue slashed by a third.

There are calls in both the United States and South Korea for the allies to pause or downsize the joint military exercises to reduce strain and potentially persuade North Korea into talks to freeze its nuclear program.

This was the first high-level encounter between the two Koreas since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May this year. Not necessarily. USA officials argue that the credit should go to Mattis' blunt clarity, Dunford's reassuring steadiness and Tillerson's patient diplomacy. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, they warned North Korea to "take a new path toward peace, prosperity and worldwide acceptance", or face increased isolation. All these measures have failed to stop North Korea's continuous nuclear and missile development.

"Miniaturisation for ballistic missiles is only one of the many challenges of targeting the USA with an ICBM", said David Albright, a physicist and founder of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

In a video interview posted on the state-run Uriminzokkiri website, his two adult sons Ted and James Dresnok confirmed that their father suffered a fatal stroke in November past year.

"We've completed warm and very productive, detailed conversations about the situation facing our nations, and we've achieved very highly useful results", Mattis said of the morning's meeting. "It's inadequate in the face of a regime like North Korea's".

Moon said North Korea had not stopped its efforts to advance its nuclear and missile technologies, even as the global community strengthened pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang. It has first concentrated on a confrontational approach, resorting to mainly three paths: sanctions through the UNSC; secondary boycotts by member states, particularly, the four major powers directly concerned with the Korean crisis; and continued joint South Korea-US military exercises and deployment of all kinds of anti-ballistic missiles in Korea.