The NATO Deputy Secretary General says the joint US, South Korea military drills can not be ‘traded off’ against DPRK nuclear tests.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said Tuesday she did not believe it was necessary for the United States and South Korea to give up joint military exercises in connection with the deterioration of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Russia and China have proposed the idea of “double freezing” — the termination of drills of US allies in exchange for the suspension of Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests.

“I don’t agree that we can somehow trade off the exercise program that the United States and RK conduct against DPRK testing program for both missiles and nuclear weapons,” Gottemoeller said.

Commenting on the North Korean nuclear test, US President Donald Trump called Pyongyang’s actions “hostile and dangerous,” emphasizing that the “talk of appeasement” would not work. He also reaffirmed the US readiness to protect the US and its allies by “using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal.”

Moreover, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that any threats to the United States or its allies would be met with a massive, “effective and overwhelming” military response. Mattis also said that Trump had been briefed on various military options available to the United States.   

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