On the Korean Peninsula, Watch Tangible Movement – Not Rhetoric

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The U.S.-South Korea joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises begin Monday, after days of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing there will be “strong military consequences” if North Korea “initiates hostilities.” Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with their Japanese counterparts in mid-August to discuss North Korea. The two countries said in a joint statement the U.S. is committed to “deploying its most advanced capabilities” in missile defense to Japan. 

Meanwhile, China – which is angered over a trade probe launched last week by the Trump Administration to investigate China’s intellectual property practices – will be watching the exercises closely, hoping for continued stability on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang, for its part, sees the annual exercises as preparation by the U.S. and South Korea for potential invasion.

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