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South Korean military says no suspicious North Korean moves detected before Christmas

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 24 Dec 2019 Print

South Korean military says no suspicious North Korean moves detected before Christmas

Moscow/Sputnik: South Korean military has so far detected no suspicious moves by North Korea, despite lingering threats that Pyongyang could offer the United States a ''Christmas gift,'' in the words of North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs, by conducting missile tests ahead of the Christmas holidays, an officer in the military said on Tuesday.

"There have not been specific moves in the North as of now that indicate high-profile military actions,” the officer said, as quoted by Yonhap News Agency.

Tensions in the region have risen amid the breakdown in denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington. On December 3, Ri Thae Song, the North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs, warned that the US could expect a “Christmas gift," from Pyongyang.

In response to these warnings, the US has stepped up surveillance efforts in the Korean Peninsula. According to Aircraft Spots, a military aviation tracker that posts on Twitter, the United States is conducting almost daily reconnaissance flights in the region.

South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo visited the Joint Chiefs of Staff command and control center on Saturday to check its readiness, Yonhap reported.
Since 2018, North Korea and the United States have held two bilateral summits in which both parties strove to normalize relations and push for Pyongyang’s denuclearization. However, negotiations have come to a halt in recent months after the US demanded more decisive steps from North Korea, while Pyongyang criticized Washington for not reciprocating goodwill gestures.

North Korea conducted missile tests in the Sea of Japan in both September and October, heightening tensions in the region.