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U.S. rejects 'freeze-for-freeze' proposal from China, Russia over N. Korea

2017/07/07 05:56

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WASHINGTON, July 6 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Thursday rejected a joint proposal from China and Russia that the U.S. and South Korea suspend joint military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting nuclear and missile tests.

After summit talks in Moscow earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin made the so-called "freeze-for-freeze" proposal in an effort to defuse escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The North has previously made a similar proposal but the U.S. has flatly rejected it, saying it makes no sense for the U.S. to halt the lawful exercises in return for the North suspending its illicit weapons activities.

"There's no equivalency between the United States and its activities and actions that it undertakes with its allies, including South Korea and also Japan. These are something that are lawful," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a regular briefing.

North Korea has long called for an end to annual joint exercises between the U.S. and the South, denouncing the drills as a rehearsal for invasion. Washington and Seoul have rejected the demand, saying the exercises are purely defensive.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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