North Korea issued warning as US aircraft carrier set to join drills
Kim Jong-un threatens South Korea with nuclear 'annihilation'
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USS Ronald Reagan and ships from its accompanying strike force arrived at a naval base in the port city of Busan, around 200 miles away from Seoul on Friday.
According to Reuters, the arrival of the American aircraft carrier is the most significant deployment yet under a new push to have US nuclear-capable “strategic assets” sailing in the region to deter Pyongyang.
USS Ronald Reagan’s arrival is also the first time in around four years that an American aircraft carrier has visited South Korea.
Yoon Suk-yeol, who was elected as South Korean President by around 250,000 votes, has pushed for more joint exercises since he entered office in May.
He previously suggested relations between Seoul and Pyongyang could continue to sour.
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In his victory speech, Yoon said: “I will sternly respond to North Korea’s illegal and unreasonable acts according to principles but always leave the door open for South-North dialogue.”
President Yoon also met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday as the pair agreed on the need to improve relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
The meeting, which took place in New York as world leaders met ahead of the UN General Assembly, was the first between the leaders of the respective nations since 2019.
Yoon’s deputy spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung said: “The two leaders agreed on the need to improve relations by resolving pending issues, for which they agreed to accelerate diplomatic talks while continuing discussions between themselves.”
Japan’s Foreign Ministry press secretary Hikariko Ono added the two leaders “shared the need to bring back the sound bilateral relationship with the resolution of various issues”.
Yoon also landed himself in hot water during his visit to the Big Apple after his microphone picked up a comment he made about Congress.
According to the Washington Post, the South Korean President said: “It would be so humiliating for Biden if these idiots don’t pass it in Congress.”
Yoon had been referring to Joe Biden’s commitment to give $6billion (£5.3billion) to a public health campaign which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the globe.
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However, observers suggest North Korea appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.
Pyongyang recently condemned joint drills in the region as rehearsals for warfare.
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