S. Korea, US resume suspended joint marine drills

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's number two plan to meet in New York to discuss a possible second summit seen here in

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's number two plan to meet in New York to discuss a possible second summit seen here in

"The United States and South Korea will open this Monday joint military exercises on a small scale, which were previously suspended talks with Pyongyang", the statement reads.

In Washington last week, South Korea's defense minister said Washington and Seoul would make a decision by December on major joint military exercises for 2019.

But North Korea warned over the weekend it would publicly restart development of nuclear weapons if the United States did not lift some sanctions.

That said, Mr. Pompeo on Sunday provided a laundry list of US achievements in relations with North Korea since the Singapore summit, saying such achievements were part of Washington's inevitable march toward denuclearization.

The Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP) exercise has been suspended for six months since May as the two countries engaged in diplomacy with North Korea, said yonhap in a report.

"A lot of work remains, but I'm confident that we will keep the economic pressure in place until such time as Chairman Kim fulfills the commitment he made to President Trump back in June in Singapore", Pompeo said.

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The two nations, however, have been at odds over ways to reach that goal, as North Korea has yet to take credible action to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

But little progress has been made since then, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearization", and Pyongyang condemning U.S. demands as "gangster-like". Working-level South Korean and US diplomats are also expected to meet.

The North Korean foreign ministry, in its latest statement, said, "The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible". There have been no nuclear test.

Pompeo also confirmed that the DPRK will not see any US economic sanctions lifted until it has demonstrated complete denuclearization.

The exercises this week could impact upcoming talks scheduled this week between Secretary Pompeo and top North Korean adviser Kim Yong Chol, the Guardian reports. Over the weekend, Kim hosted President Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba - another country under U.S. sanctions - during a lavish visit in Pyongyang, where the two leaders vowed to boost their cooperation.

North Korea has recently stepped up its rhetoric, demanding an easing of United States economic sanctions, with the support of China and Russian Federation.

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