WASHINGTON, June 25 (Yonhap) -- Suspending annual joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea could lead to a weakening of the alliance, a former chief U.S. nuclear negotiator with North Korea said.
Former Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill made the point in a recent Project Syndicate article, expressing concern about the "freeze-for-freeze" idea that calls for the U.S. freezing or scaling back the exercises in exchange for the North freezing nuclear and missile testing.
"Advocates of this so-called 'freeze for freeze' approach say that such a tradeoff is only fair: The North cannot be expected to suspend its efforts to strengthen its defensive capabilities if the U.S. and South Korea are pursuing supposedly hostile military cooperation in its near abroad," Hill said.
"But this argument has it backward. In fact, it is the North whose activities are inherently hostile, and the South, along with the U.S., that is focused on defense. Indeed, planning for the annual U.S.-South Korea spring exercises is always based on the premise that North Korea has invaded the South, not vice versa," he said.
Hill also stressed, "Without joint exercises, a military alliance becomes weak and hollow."
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