United States and South Korea
LATEST UPDATE: December 7, 2019 - 3:06pm
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Seoul says South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump agreed during a phone conversation to maintain dialogue with the nuclear-armed North, with the two allies noting the situation had become "grave". 

Denuclearisation negotiations have been at a standstill since a summit in Hanoi broke up in February and pressure is rising as an end-of-year deadline to offer concessions, set by Pyongyang for Washington, approaches.

The 30-minute talk was the first conversation between the US President and the South Korean leader since they met at the UN General Assembly in New York in September. — AFP

November 14, 2019

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, as Pyongyang warned it was running out of patience.

The North has long protested joint military drills, which it condemns as preparations for invasion, and has set Washington an end-of-year deadline to come up with a new offer in deadlocked negotiations on its weapons programmes.

The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, but are due to carry out a combined air exercise later this month.

"We will adjust our exercise posture either more or less depending on what diplomacy may require," Esper told reporters on board his plane to Seoul, where he started an Asian tour Thursday. — AFP

November 14, 2019

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North as Pyongyang warned it was running out of patience.

The North has long protested joint military drills, which it condemns as preparations for invasion, and has set Washington an end-of-year deadline to come up with a new offer in deadlocked negotiations on its weapons programmes.

The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, but are due to carry out a combined air exercise later this month. — AFP

September 20, 2019

The US government announces that its authorities for the first time filed a complaint against South Korea under  environmental rules of the free trade pact between Seoul and Washington, over illegal fishing.

The US Trade Representative's office says it "intends to seek environment consultations" with Seoul under the terms of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first step in a formal trade complaint.

The trade representative's office cites a government report that named South Korea, saying the country failed to stop its vessels from "engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures." — AFP

September 10, 2019

North Korea on Tuesday fired projectiles toward the sea, South Korea's military said, hours after Pyongyang said it is willing to hold working-level talks with the United States in late September.

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in February ended without a deal.

North Korea twice launched "unidentified projectiles" Tuesday morning in an easterly direction that flew approximately 330 kilometres (205 miles) from the Kaechon area in South Pyongan province, according to the South Korean military. -- Agence France-Presse

August 9, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in appoints a new ambassador to the US who has described Donald Trump as "treacherous", only a month after Britain's envoy to Washington had to step down over his criticisms of the US president.

In the early 2000s, Lee Soo-hyuck, a career diplomat before becoming a ruling party lawmaker, is Seoul's chief negotiator in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme.

Now he will be responsible for guiding the relationship between Seoul and Washington, who have not always seen eye-to-eye over the nuclear-armed North or their own ties. — AFP

August 1, 2019

A Pentagon official says the US and South Korea will press ahead with joint military exercises, defying demands from a furious Pyongyang for their cancellation as it carries out a series of weapons tests.

North Korea fired what Seoul called two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday after two similar launches last week, one of which Pyongyang described as a "solemn warning to the South Korean warmongers" over the planned military drills.

The joint exercises are set to begin on Monday and last for just over two weeks after the US and South Korea scaled them down earlier this year amid a flurry of diplomatic exchanges with the North. — AFP

July 20, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he remained at the ready to help South Korea and Japan solve their lingering dispute over World War II-era forced labor that has blighted their trade ties.

After South Korea's high court ordered Japanese firms that used forced labor to compensate victims, Tokyo in early July restricted exports of chemicals vital to Seoul's world-leading chip and smartphone industry in an escalation of their decades-old row.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said Japan's actions are politically motivated and have caused an "unprecedented emergency" for his country's export-driven economy. — AFP

June 26, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in dismisses the idea that nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington had stalemated but stressed patience was needed to bridge a 70-year "sea of mistrust".

In written answers to questions submitted by leading media, Moon -- who brokered talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year -- also urges Pyongyang to resume the dialogue to show its desire to denuclearise.

Moon is set to host the US leader this weekend as he tries to rekindle nuclear talks that have stalled since the collapse of a second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February. — AFP

A US official says the US military and South Korea are planning to "discontinue" annual large-scale military exercises as President Donald Trump pursues efforts to improve ties with North Korea.

The comment from the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, came shortly after the conclusion of Trump's second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, which ended without a formal agreement but with both sides suggesting they will keep talking. — AFP

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