Sanctions on N Korea to Be Lifted Only After Denuclearization - Pentagon Chief

Sanctions on N Korea to Be Lifted Only After Denuclearization - Pentagon Chief

Sanctions on N Korea to Be Lifted Only After Denuclearization - Pentagon Chief

The defense authorities of South Korea and the U.S. agreed on the importance of continuing combined drills even in the dialogue phase, given the North's advanced threats.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says global sanctions on North Korea will only be lifted when Pyongyang takes concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program.

The comments came after South Korean Defence Minister Song Young Moo and his United States counterpart James Mattis held talks on Saturday on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. "North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearisation".

There was no reference to maximum pressure on North Korea in the statement after Trump said Friday that he no longer wants to use the term because the United States and North Korea are "getting along".

"We must maintain a strong, collaborative, defensive stance so that we enable our diplomats to negotiate from a position of strength at this critical time", he said.

North Korea has faced years of economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. North Korea has bristled at the idea, and it's unclear if the two sides will be able to bridge their differences enough for the meeting to be deemed a success.

The U.S. has previously insisted that North Korea give up all its weapons before it can shed its pariah status or get any relief from sanctions. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been acting as a go-between in diplomatic efforts for the potential holding of the summit between the USA and North Korea - also long-time foes.

Kim replaces def min Meanwhile, North Korea replaced its defence minister ahead of the pivotal negotiations, Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

"Both pressure and dialogue are important. we believe that pressure will be maintained, which will help solve this problem", he said.

Onodera and Song held bilateral talks separately later Sunday.

The RIMPAC is scheduled to run from June 27 to August 2 in Hawaii, while the UFG, which brings together South Korean and US forces, will take place in early August.

But the statement made no mention of maximum pressure on North Korea, which was included in a joint statement released at the time of the trio's previous meeting in October past year. Speaking to reporters before the closed-door talks began, Song called for greater military cooperation to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea.

"But there must be CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement), and it must be enforced, and I believe Kim Jong Un will embrace it", Song told the forum.

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