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Moon rejects Abe's request to resume US-S. Korea military drills

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- South Korean President Moon Jae In has rejected a request by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to swiftly resume the country's joint military drills with the United States, his office said Saturday.

    During their summit in South Korea on Friday, Abe told Moon that the military drills between Seoul and Washington should be carried out to change North Korea's behavior, the office said.

    Moon, however, dismissed the proposal, saying it is a matter of his country's sovereignty, the office added.

    Washington and Seoul have agreed to suspend their joint military drills until the end of South Korea's Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on March 18, to which North Korea has pledged to send its athletes.

    Pyongyang has been steadfastly opposed to the joint military drills, describing them as preparations for invasion. In his New Year address, leader Kim Jong Un demanded a stop to the exercises.

    Relations between the two Koreas are apparently improving after North Korea decided to join the Pyeongchang Olympics that began Friday, but Pyongyang has so far shown no sign of abandoning its missile and nuclear development programs.

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