18:33 GMT03 April 2020
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    SEOUL (Sputnik) - The supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, stressed the necessity of wartime preparations during his Monday visit to an exercise of sharpshooter units of the air force and the air defence after the United States and South Korea had postponed their own military exercise.

    "It is necessary to conduct field exercises and examinations just like this one: without warning, in harsh conditions, imitating real war, not bound by rules and formalities, in order to use them as a chance to increase the preparedness of the Korean People's Army for war, to examine and harden them", Kim said in a statement, published by the Korean Central News Agency.

    On Sunday, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced that the United States and South Korea had agreed to hold off the upcoming joint military air exercises in a show of good faith to promote a denuclearisation dialogue with Pyongyang.

    After the first US-North Korea summit in June 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he intended to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea, calling them expensive and inappropriate in dialogue with Pyongyang.

    The allies have since canceled several drills that North Korea deems as a provocation. The wintertime air exercise in question, code-named Vigilant Ace, was for the first time suspended in 2018.

    denuclearization, South Korea, United States, defence, military, war, Kim Jong-un, North Korea
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