With the young Kim taking over as North Korea’s leader following his father’s death in December last year, the country’s news agency issued a stern warning concerning the U.S.-South Korea drills.
The West Sea is a disputed region, and the scene of deadly clashes in 2010. The United States has been staging military exercises with various regional allies recently. The South Korea drills - titled Key Resolve and Foal Eagle - involve 200,000 South Korean troops and 2,100 U.S. forces. Meanwhile, a group of anti-war activists staged a rally against the annual drills outside the U-S military headquarters in Seoul.
Washington’s chief envoy to North Korea met with his counterpart in Beijing, and reporting in Seoul, suggested Pyongyang needed to make amends toward South Korea.
US says the goal of these efforts is to get North Korea to return to the Six-party Talks, which involve North Korea, South Korea, the U.S., Russia, Japan and host China; discussions seeking to exchange aid and improved diplomatic standing for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. Although that forum has been dormant since 2008, some analysts believe negotiations may soon be revived.
Diplomatic efforts on multiple levels are being deployed to address North Korea’s nuclear program.
However, It will be difficult to meet such an optimistic expectation despite continued rounds of diplomacy, with the U.S.-South Korea drills to continue through April 30 - maneuvers North Korea calls an infringement on its territory.