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Mattis says N Korea cannot drive wedge between US, S Korea

Mattis says N Korea cannot drive wedge between US, S Korea

Mattis says N Korea cannot drive wedge between US, S Korea
February 12
10:00 2018

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis says says a temporary warming of relations between North Korea and South Korea could not drive a  “wedge” between the United States and South Korea.

“I know that people are watching for a wedge between South Korea, Republic of Korea, in other words and the United States,” Mattis told reporters on a flight to Rome.

“There's no wedge there, the military staffs are integrated. If you move up to the political level, Admiral Song, minister of defense Song, flew into Hawaii when I was out in the Pacific, that's so he and I could sit down face to face and consult.”

Mattis made the comments shortly after a high-level North Korean delegation headed home following a historic visit to the South on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The delegation included senior officials from Pyongyang, including Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korea’s leader. The South Korean president met with the North Korean delegation in Seoul.

In another major diplomatic development between the two Koreas, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, invited President Moon Jae-in of the South for a visit to Pyongyang.

A spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul said on Saturday that the invitation, delivered verbally by Kim’s visiting sister Kim Yo-jong, expressed the North Korean leader’s willingness to meet Moon “at the earliest date possible.”

The official said that “special envoy Kim Yo-jong delivered a personal letter” from her brother, stating his “wish to improve inter-Korean relations.”

Mattis showed skepticism about Kim's intentions and the recent meetings.

“I don't know if it's a sign, it's too early for me to tell what he'll do because in the midst of all this he ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles,” Mattis said, pointing to his decision to hold a military parade before the games. “That's a very strange time if in fact he's trying to throw a warming to the country that he has attacked repeatedly.”

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