Pentagon says it's 'suspended all planning' for military exercise with South Korea

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2018

While the USA and South Korean governments have yet to make an official announcement about the suspension of the war games, speculation is rampant that they will soon announce halting the upcoming Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise slated for August.

In return for the denuclearization pledge, Trump made the shock announcement that he would stop joint military drills with South Korea, long seen as a provocation by Pyongyang and Beijing.

Those exercises usually involve troops, warplanes, ships and other military weapons from US bases around the world. The South's defence ministry denied it made such a request, Yonhap said. "However, we are now discussing how to proceed with dialogue".

But the decision may cause concern in South Korea - and driving a wedge between South Korea and the United States is also in China's interest. -South Korean "war games".

"We hope this visit will help deepen the China-DPRK (North Korea) relations and strengthen our strategic communication on major issues to promote regional peace and stability", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.

His statement appeared to catch both South Korea and the Pentagon by surprise, but they presented a united front in cancelling the upcoming exercise.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, June 11, 2018.

The U.S. has 6,800 nuclear warheads, 4,000 of which are stockpiled and 1,800 deployed, and 2,800 retired, according to a report from the Federation of American Scientists.

However, North Korea offered a different account of the discussion. The drills typically begin in March but were delayed a bit because of the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

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The same goes for Mr Moon, who supports engagement with North Korea and held his own summit with Mr Kim in April.

The U.S. military carries out a couple other military exercises annually with the South Korean military, most notably springtime exercises known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve.

North Korea is estimated to have thousands massive artillery guns hidden in hardened shelters among the hills and mountains of the country's rugged terrain.

"No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites".

North Korea holds a massive artillery drill.

Both China and Russian Federation have in the aftermath of that meeting called for worldwide sanctions against North Korea to be loosened, though the US has insisted that relief will only come when Pyongyang takes more substantive steps towards denuclearization.

Seoul and Washington share the view that sanctions on the communist nation should remain in place until it takes "substantive" denuclearisation measures, according to the minister. "I want to bring our soldiers back home", Trump said after the June 12 summit. This compares to the 60 nuclear warheads North Korea claims to possess. In order to ensure conditions for denuclearization, this will take time, shrewd diplomacy and insulation from domestic politics in the U.S. With the November mid-term elections around the corner, Trump will be looking for ways to translate his theater summitry to substantial results.

While Mr. Pompeo has told reporters he does "not know exactly what the timing will be for our next conversation with North Korea", he has suggested there may be an announcement in the coming days.

Officials from the two Koreas met at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Monday and reached several agreements aimed at strengthening sporting ties.

Other reports by GizPress

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