U.S., South Korea suspend August military drills

U.S. soldiers and vehicles prepare to participate in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian near the inter-Korean border in Paju, north of Seoul on August 22, 2016. The United States and South Korea suspended all plans for the annual military drill Monday. File Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Service

June 19 (UPI) — The United States and South Korea suspended plans to conduct defensive military exercises scheduled for August, the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday.

The Department of Defense suspended all planning for the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian command and control exercise “consistent with President Donald J. Trump‘s commitment to North Korea and in concert with South Korea,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

“We are still coordinating additional actions,” she said. “No decisions on subsequent war games have been made.”

White added the defense secretary, secretary of state and the national security advisor will hold a meeting at the Pentagon later this week to discuss the issue.

“There is no impact on Pacific exercises outside of the Korean Peninsula,” she said.

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 South Korean and the U.S. defense ministries would maintain close coordination to make sure there is no daylight in the combined forces’ readiness posture,” the ministry said.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a command and control exercise designed to “enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the Pentagon said.

It began in 1976 and about 17,500 U.S. service members took part in the exercise in 2017 alongside participants from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and New Zealand.


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