04:04 GMT +325 April 2018
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    US and South Korean marines cross a bridge during mountain warfare drills in Pohang, about 370 km (230 miles) southeast of Seoul

    US-S Korea Military Drills Impede Holding Talks With Pyongyang – Russian Envoy

    © AFP 2018 / KIM JAE-HWAN
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The joint military exercises of the United States and South Korea do not contribute to the creation of conditions for talks on North Korea, Russian Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov told Sputnik.

    "Regarding the US-South Korean drills, we can say without any doubt that such large-scale military activity does not contribute at all to the creation of favorable atmosphere for the holding of normal talks," Ulyanov said.

    READ MORE: US, South Korea Kick Off Annual Joint Military Drills — Reports

    The exercises are likely to end before the high-level meeting between South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, scheduled for late April.

    “Apparently, the dialogue between two Koreas will continue, possibly, there will be contacts between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. It seems to me that the most important thing in the subsequent negotiations is to offer Pyongyang truly convincing security guarantees,” Ulyanov said.

    On Sunday, the US and South Korean troops began their annual Foal Eagle joint military drills that had been postponed due to the holding of the Winter Olympic Games in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

    Often viewed as a provocation by North Korea, the joint drills are to take place amid an easing of tensions between North and South Korea and before the highly anticipated inter-Korean summit, where the parties may discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    Russia and China have repeatedly called on the US and South Korea to cease joint drills in order to de-escalate the situation on the peninsula and urged Pyongyang to halt nuclear tests. The proposal, which has been dubbed the "double freeze" plan, has been ultimately rejected by Washington.

    Related:

    Regular Military Drills Between S Korea, US to Have Shorter Timeline - Reports
    US, South Korea to Resume Joint Drills on April 1
    US to Continue Routine Defensive Drills With Allies After South Korea Olympics
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    military drills, talks, United States, South Korea
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