South Korea and the United States may delay their joint military drills until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, only if North Korea refrains from provocations as well, local media reported Wednesday citing an unnamed senior official in the South Korean presidential administration.
The comments come a day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that he had proposed to the United States to postpone the joint drills until after the 2018 Winter Olympics in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang in order to reduce tensions in the region and prevent possible provocations of Pyongyang.
“Because the Olympics is an international event and the North Korean nuclear issue is creating a global crisis, it is only natural that we make efforts to find a solution [to the North Korean nuclear issue] through the Olympic Games if we must … It cannot but affect a decision [to delay drills] should there be an additional provocation,” the official said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
The official noted that the postponing would be only limited to the duration of the Olympic Games.
He added that South Korea was waiting for the response of the United States, adding that Washington regarded possible postponement of the drills as “a matter worth considering.”
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will take place in Pyeongchang on February 9-25. The South Korean resort city is located just 50 miles south of the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas.