03:39 GMT16 April 2021
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    The US and South Korea’s decision to delay a large-scale joint military exercise on the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympics, does not mean there will be any easing of pressure on Pyongyang, a senior Japanese official has warned.

    In a statement on Friday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Tokyo, Washington, and Seoul "have confirmed a shared policy to further increase pressure against North Korea."

    "Including this case (the delaying of the drill), Japan, the US and South Korea closely share information and align policies regarding North Korea," Suga said.

    “The decision on the timing of the joint exercise is not designed to compromise the increased pressure on North Korea," he added

    During a phone linkup on Thursday, US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in agreed to hold off on the two countries’ huge annual war games until after the Olympic Games in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang have ended.

    The decision came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un proposed holding talks with Seoul. As a result, the two Korean states have reopened communications channels along the demilitarized zone that had been closed for two years.

    It is hoped that the intra-Korean talks, slated for next week, will help ease tensions fueled by Pyongyang’s multiple missile launches of the past few months and the war of words between Trump and Kim Jong-un.

    In a New Year speech on Thursday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the security situation facing his country as the worst since 1945 and pledged to apply "maximum pressure" on North Korea in a bid to force it to roll back its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

    READ MORE: US, South Korea Agree to Halt Military Drills During 2018 Olympics — Pentagon


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