Though widely dismissed as far-fetched, personal views both in Seoul and Washington, such remarks have alarmed the two countries' security experts, who suspect that the stationing of 28,000 United States troops and its annual drill with the South Korean counterpart have been a successful deterrence against North Korea.
The US and South Korea would begin a 10-day-long annual military exercise next week, the Pentagon said today amid the continued provocative behaviour from North Korea.
Pyongyang has said it was considering plans to fire missiles over Japan towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, although North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have delayed the decision.
US forces will join military forces from major South Korean units representing all services, as well as South Korean government participants.
Earlier on Tuesday, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on Guam attack while he waits to see what USA does next, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Seoul would seek to prevent war by all means.
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A South Korean government source who spoke to SBS anonymously said Seoul agreed with the proposal to scale back.
"I am not considering that right now", Chung said, in response to a question from conservative lawmaker Chung Jin-suk on whether the military was looking into reducing or suspending the joint drills.
The DPRK has denounced it as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion, though the two allies insisted on the nature of defense of the annually-held computer-assisted simulation exercises.
South Korea is banned from developing nukes on its own under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty - which it signed in 1975.
"We want to use diplomacy".
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