Pentagon suspends military exercises with South Korea indefinitely to support diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang

Washington: The US and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, to support diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The move comes after the two countries announced the shelving of the large-scale Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises slated for August, making good on a pledge by President Donald Trump during his summit with North Korea's leader.

Friday's decision followed a high-level meeting between Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

"To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

Two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months have now been shelved.

"In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith," White continued, using the acronym for the official name of North Korea.

Some 17,500 US military personnel were due to take part in the Freedom Guardian drills.

Last week, after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump made the surprise announcement that the US would halt "war games" with its South Korean security ally - without making clear when the freeze would begin.

The US leader raised eyebrows by describing the exercises as "provocative" - a term used by the North.

US and South Korean forces have been training together for years, and routinely rehearse everything from beach landings to an invasion from the North, or even "decapitation" strikes targeting the North Korean regime.

Pyongyang typically reacts furiously. Following drills last year, the North fired ballistic missiles over Japan, triggering global alarm.


Updated Date: Jun 23, 2018 09:25 AM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See