United States and South Korea agreed to suspend joint military exercise

Vastavam web: The United States and South Korea have agreed to suspend a joint military exercise scheduled for August, South Korean and U.S. officials said on Monday, following President Donald Trump’s pledge to end “war games” after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week. “South Korea and the United States have agreed to suspend all planning activities regarding the Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August,” according to a South Korean defense ministry statement. A Pentagon statement confirmed the suspension and added that there would be a meeting between the secretaries of defense and state as well as Trump’s national security adviser on the issue this week.

“We are still coordinating additional actions. No decisions on subsequent wargames have been made,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said separately. The Pentagon rarely uses the words ‘war game’ for joint military drills and it is a phrase more often seen in North Korean state media. Last year, 17,500 American and more than 50,000 South Korean troops participated in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, although the exercise is mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than live field exercises that use weapons, tanks or aircraft.

The decision to halt military exercises in South Korea has bewildered many current and former U.S. defense officials, who only learned about it when Trump made his remarks. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday there would be no changes to joint drill plans between the United States and Japan, both of which also engage in regular deterrence exercises against North Korea.