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Diplomats still in lead on Korean Peninsula issue: U.S. defence secretary

Xinhua,December 30, 2017 Adjust font size:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Friday that diplomats are still leading the effort to deal with the Korean Peninsula issue, according to a Pentagon statement.

Right now there was clearly "a diplomatically led effort with a lot of international diplomatic support" when dealing with escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula after a nuclear test and multiple ballistic missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) this year, Mattis told a press briefing.

"We still have the diplomats in the lead," the Pentagon chief said.

When asked if the United States considered postponing a joint exercise with South Korea scheduled for February, Mattis shunned a direct answer by saying a rescheduling of the exercise will be subject to many reasons, including ship availability and political considerations.

"I don't consider rescheduling to be pausing them," Mattis added.

Earlier this month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told U.S. broadcaster NBC that if the DPRK stops provocation until the PyeongChang Olympics period, South Korea and the United States could review a delay of the joint war games scheduled to take place during the Olympics period.

South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang in its eastern region on Feb. 9-25 next year. It will be followed by the Paralympic Games on March 9-18. Enditem