NATIONAL

Parties have mixed reactions to allies' suspension of military drills

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jun 19, 2018 - 11:54
  • Updated : Jun 19, 2018 - 14:51
The ruling Democratic Party said Tuesday that it "deeply" respects South Korea and the United States' decision to suspend their joint military drills slated for August, calling the move a proper step for peace.

But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party stressed the need for North Korea to show sincerity in dismantling its nuclear programs, saying that the allies should resume exercises at any time if Pyongyang reneges on its promise to denuclearize.

Seoul and Washington announced earlier in the day that they will cease the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise amid ongoing diplomacy to denuclearize North Korea.

(Yonhap)

The liberal DP said that the announcement came at a proper time as part of steps to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea's latest summits with South Korea and the United States.

"We expect that North Korea could take corresponding measures as well to soothe tensions on the peninsula," the party said in a statement.

"We hope that the parties involved will deepen their mutual trust through future follow-up meetings and the implementation of a set of agreements, and that phased and synchronized measures for consolidating peace will follow," it added.

US President Donald Trump expressed his intent to stop what he called "provocative, inappropriate and expensive" war games with the South after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last Tuesday.

North Korea has long denounced Seoul and Washington's military drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North. The allies say that the exercises are defensive in nature.

The minor liberal Party of Democracy and Peace gave a similar response on the issue.

"It is not the first time that the allies have decided to suspend their exercises. ... So it would be an overstretched claim if critics say that the decision will weaken the Seoul-Washington alliance," it said.

The party also called on North Korea to respond to the allies'

move with peace-making measures, such as the dismantlement of a test site for an engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Meanwhile, the conservative LKP highlighted the need for North Korea to show its sincerity for denuclearization in return for Seoul and Washington's decision.

"The allies should resume their suspended military drills at any time if North Korea does not take tangible steps for denuclearization," the party said. "The ball is now in North Korea's court." (Yonhap)