The United States has called for the release of three detained Americans after North Korea announced its intention to try two of them for committing “hostile acts” against it. The announcement comes as Washington indicates it plans to go ahead with joint military exercises with South Korea later this year, despite the North’s call they be cancelled to improve inter-Korean relations.
…Sung-Yoon Lee, an assistant professor in Korean Studies at [the Fletcher School at] Tufts University, said North Korea is still able to influence international events by its statements and actions.
"We have the Chinese leader set to visit South Korea this week and that means it’s a sensitive time for China and South Korea. Neither country wants a North Korean provocation. We also have, in recent weeks, the resumption of diplomatic talks between North Korea and Japan and, apparently, some progress on the very sensitive issue of abductees. According to South Korean news reports, in recent days, apparently there have been talks on the issue of over 1,800 Japanese women who accompanied their Korean husbands and resettled in North Korea in the late 1950s and early 60s. North Korea is talking, negotiating with Japan on sending the surviving Japanese-born women back home," said Lee.
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