Pentagon suspends Korea ‘war game’ planning for August

Thursday, 21 Jun, 2018

Last year's drill was held over 11 days and involved 17,500 USA 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. (Yonhap) An image depicting a decision by South Korea and the United States to suspend the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint exercise. "The South and the United States plan to continue consultations over additional measures".

The Pentagon has suspended planning for a major military exercise in August in South Korea as a direct result of President Donald Trump's pledge to stop "wargames" following the Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

The interview was jointly conducted by the state-run news agency Tass, broadcaster Russia-1 and the daily Rossiskaya Gazeta early Wednesday ahead of the first state visit by a South Korean president in 19 years and a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. -South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every spring with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month.

The Pentagon has consistently labeled the annual large-scale exercises as defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining the readiness of both American and South Korean troops to fight back any military aggression from North Korea.

At a press conference after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last Tuesday, Trump announced that he was suspending the "provocative, inappropriate and expensive" military exercises with the South, predominantly due to cost.

Thanking Putin for his support behind efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, Moon said he will continue to closely work with Russian Federation in the process of securing peace on the peninsula. -North Korea summit, to rid North Korea of its nuclear ambition.

His announcement appeared to catch USA defense officials by surprise, and his comments ran counter to long-held American arguments that the exercises are critical for effective operations with allies and are defensive in nature. The Hill reports the US and South Korea conduct three major exercises and some other smaller ones a year.

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense said no decisions had been made regarding other joint exercises between the two countries after the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, according to the Korea Herald.

The next major drill, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, is planned for the end of the summer.

Commenting on the historic U.S.

North Korea last tested a nuclear warhead in September - a blast that is thought to have caused significant damage to the test site in a village named Pungg-rye.

"We have made a decision to postpone it", the official said, requesting anonymity.

He says the American military presence "wouldn't mean much if the militaries don't practice through joint drills".