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Donald Trump and South Korea's president agree to delay joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics

The announcement comes as North Korea may be testing another nuclear weapon

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Thursday 04 January 2018 16:34 GMT
Trump to Kim Jong-un: 'My button is bigger than yours'

The Pentagon has said US President Donald Trump has agreed to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics.

Mr Trump consulted with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the matter, according to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning.

The Winter Olympics begin on 9 February amid rising concerns over a nuclear North Korea.

The decision pushes back a set of annual military exercises known as Foal Eagle, which are usually held between February and April. Foal Eagle is a series of exercises designed to test the readiness of the US and South Korean militaries.

The move comes after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said there is evidence that North Korea is testing yet another nuclear weapon, once again in violation of UN sanctions.

Seoul also announced that it would begin direct talks with Pyongyang.

Mr Moon ran his presidential campaign last year with the promise and goal of a "sunshine policy" towards North Korea; more open economic relations and direct negotiating to achieve peace.

Mr Trump took credit for brokering the talks on Twitter, however.

Ms Haley said at a news conference at the United Nations, however, that the US "won't take any [inter-Korean] talks seriously" unless Pyongyang bans all its nuclear weapons and testing.

"They can talk with whoever they want," she said about North Korea, but made the US requirements clear.

Mr Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un have been trading barbs throughout the US President's first year in office; Mr Trump called Mr Kim "Rocket Man" multiple times and the North Korean state news agency had called the US leader a "dotard".

In his New Year's address, Mr Kim threatened he has a "nuclear button" on his office desk and warned that "the whole territory of the US is within the range of our nuclear strike."

Mr Trump then took to Twitter on 2 January: "Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" 

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