Pentagon indefinitely suspends some
training exercises with South Korea
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[June 23, 2018]
By Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States
and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program
training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the
summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"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
"This includes suspending FREEDOM GUARDIAN along with two Korean Marine
Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three
months," White said.
Regarding suspension of the exercises, South Korea's defense ministry
said, "South Korea and the U.S. decided to delay two of KMEP (drills)
indefinitely, which was going to take place within the next three
"This is a part of follow-up measures after the North Korea-U.S. summit
and South Korea-North Korea summit. There could be additional measures
should North Korea follow suit with productive cooperation.”
At a news conference after the meeting with Kim in Singapore, Trump
announced that he would halt what he called “very provocative” and
expensive regular military exercises that the United States holds with
South Korea. North Korea had long sought an end to the war games.
This week, the United States and South Korea said they were suspending
planning for August's Freedom Guardian exercise.
Last year, 17,500 American troops and more than 50,000 South Korean
troops joined the Freedom Guardian drills, although the exercise is
mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than field exercises.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, played down the
significance of suspending the Korean Marine Exchange Program training
exercises, saying they were relatively minor.
[to top of second column]
A member of Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) rappels down during an
anti-terror drill as a part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise
in Goyang, South Korea August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File
Jim Mattis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Trump's national
security adviser John Bolton on Friday, White said.
"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," she added, referring to
Every spring, the United States and South Korea conduct Foal Eagle
and Max Thunder drills, both of which wrapped up in May.
The decision to halt military exercises with South Korea baffled
allies, military officials and lawmakers. The drills help keep U.S.
forces at a state of readiness in one of the world’s most tense
At the Singapore talks, North Korea also agreed to allow the
recovery of the remains of soldiers who went missing in action
during the Korean War.
On Saturday, the U.S. military began moving caskets to North Korea
for the recovery of some remains, the U.N. Command in South Korea
said in a statement.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Christine Kim,
Cynthia Kim; Editing by Toni Reinhold, Robert Birsel)
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