Pentagon 'indefinitely' suspends two military exercise programs with S. Korea

Xinhua
The Pentagon said it has "indefinitely" suspended two military exercise programs with South Korea to support agreements between the US President and the top leader of DPRK.
Xinhua

The Pentagon said on Friday that it has "indefinitely" suspended two military exercise programs with South Korea to support agreements between President Donald Trump and the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Un.

In a statement released by Pentagon spokesperson Dana White, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises, including "Freedom Guardian along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months."

The bid was to "support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally," read the statement.

It added that "in support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith."

Earlier on June 18, the Pentagon said that it has suspended all planning for the joint military drills with South Korea in August, referring to an annual South Korea-US military exercise slated for August with the full name of Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

Pyongyang has denounced the exercises as a rehearsal for northward invasion and a violation of the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration issued during the inter-Korean summit in late April.

Trump met with Kim on June 12, when they promised to build new bilateral relations and work toward a "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

After the meeting, Trump said the United States would stop war games with South Korea "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should." He also said the drills were "very expensive" and "provocative."

Last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian, attended by about 17,500 US military forces, went on for 11 days.

The other major US exercises with South Korea, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, took place earlier this spring.

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