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Russia says US must halt military activity on Korean Peninsula

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
South Korean Marines march on the sidewalk after arriving at a port during a joint military exercise with the US in Pohang, on April 5, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has called on the United States to immediately halt all military activity on the Korean Peninsula, as Pyongyang and Seoul seem to be on course to resolving their differences diplomatically.

Russia’s RIA news agency cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Thursday that American war games on the Korean Peninsula would not help reduce tensions there.

The United States and South Korea resumed annual joint military drills this week after a month-long delay that had been meant to accommodate North Korean participation in the Winter Olympic Games in the South.

The Foal Eagle drills involve about 23,700 US troops and 300,000 South Korean forces, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

North Korea has long regarded the joint exercises as rehearsals for an invasion, warning that the resumption of the drills could endanger a nascent rapprochement between Seoul and Pyongyang following the participation of North Korean athletes in the Winter Olympics.

The US has been in a constant tussle with North Korea over its weapons programs. Washington says the programs pose a threat to the US and its allies, while North Korea says it needs to develop its military strength to guard against potential invasion by the US and its allies.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula had been running high last year. Pyongyang advanced its weapon programs as the US took an increasingly war-like posture toward North Korea. But North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed sudden interest in the resolution of disagreements with the South on New Year’s Day, and a series of overtures began.

A meeting has now been planned between Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

US President Donald Trump has also said he plans to meet Kim sometime in May. There has been no official confirmation from Pyongyang of that meeting, however.

The likelihood of peace has been strengthened amid the diplomatic interactions.

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