South Korea: Joint US drills suspended to aid talks with North


Last year's drill was held over 11 days and involved 17,500 U.S. troops and 50,000 from South Korea, along with those from several other countries that fought in the 1950-53 Korean War, The Guardian reported.

South Korea on Tuesday presented a united front with the US on a decision to call off major joint military drills, one week after President Donald Trump's surprise announcement that he would suspend such exercises with the longtime Asian ally.

"Consistent with President Trump's commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the United States military has suspended all planning for this August's defensive "war game" (Freedom Guardian)", the statement said. "We are still coordinating additional actions", said White.

In announcing his decision, Trump said suspending the "provocative" war games would "save us a tremendous amount of money".

THE Pentagon announced on Monday that military exercises between US and South Korea that were scheduled for August are delayed indefinitely, following US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement to stop "war games" after his summit with North Korea.

U.S. and South Korean defense ministries said hours earlier that they would suspend the annual joint military exercises slated for August, a most-anticipated move after the DPRK-U.S. summit. "We should not lose this historic momentum and work together to make the peace initiative a success", she told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

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The killing of prominent Kashmiri journalist, Shujat Bukhari, last week has sent shock waves in the disputed Himalayan region. She further said her aim was for peace in the region and unilateral ceasefire.

The Pentagon has reluctantly followed the orders of President Donald Trump and canceled the next set of military exercises that US and South Korean forces were to have staged jointly in August.

"The United States Forces Korea is the core part of the ROK-U.S. alliance, and the issue between allies should be discussed at the level of the alliance", Kang said. "As long as North Korea continues to act in good faith, then we expect those things to be on pause", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said last week.

Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-keum said the civilian drill could be held as planned, suspended or modified to reflect "changing circumstances".

North and South Korean athletes will march under a unified flag for the second time this year during the Asian Games at the end of summer.

Xi said he was pleased to see North Korea's decision to promote economic reforms, adding that China's own reform and opening up process had meant the Chinese people's eyes had been open to the world.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor of American studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, raised the fear that suspending joint drills might give the USA leeway to discuss the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea, which Trump said last week he wanted to do "at some point". The exercises were observed by the former head of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry B. Harris, and Gen. John E. Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command. Even previous year, few South Koreans publicly displayed security jitters, and civil defense drills were generally lax.