U.S., South Korea Cancel Major War Game Planned for August

President Donald J. Trump addresses the media Saturday

President Donald J. Trump addresses the media Saturday

"It is our job to turn it into a complete house", said South Korean First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam, who also predicted the next major development will likely see US officials ask Pyongyang to declare all its nuclear programs and facilities. The agreement provided few details on how the USA and North Korea will achieve these goals. Pyongyang's economic dependence made it feel it was under the thumb of Beijing, with China accounting for 90 percent of North Korea's trade volume.

The president's announcement appeared to catch United States 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 defense ministry's statement said the decision came after close consultation between the two countries.

The agreement reached between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last week failed to lay out a timeline for the denuclearization of North Korea, or provide details of how the US would verify North Korea's compliance.

However, experts say that comparing military strength by number of armaments and soldiers alone doesn't account for the enormous qualitative difference between weapons, with South Korea supplied with state-of-the-art equipment and weapons by its ally the U.S.

North and South Korea failed to reach any concrete agreement during those talks, officials said.

Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Seoul and Beijing share a "strategic goal" in achieving the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula and that progress in nuclear diplomacy has been facilitating high-level contacts between North Korea and its neighbors. -South Korea alliance modifying or cancelling their military exercises.




The North Korean leader is expected to brief China's leadership on his talks with Mr Trump.

The games will be held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and in Palembang from August 18 to September 2.

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Trump's nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, retired Admiral Harry Harris, backed the idea of a "pause" in major military exercises.

"Following close cooperation, South Korea and the USA made a decision to suspend all planning activities for the UFG, the defensive exercise slated for August", the ministry said in a text message sent to reporters. Posing for photos while shaking hands with Kim, US President said, "we will have a terrific relationship no doubt".

There was also confusion over Mr Trump calling the drills "provocative", a term hitherto used by North Korea to describe them. It was later combined with South Korea's Ulchi exercise, which was launched in the wake of a North Korean infiltration in 1968. "I believe that they will find a midway point". It doesn't particularly want a nuclear-armed neighbor, so it's all for encouraging North Korea's denuclearization. "Joint training is an important in maintaining peace and stability in the region", he said.

"A Soviet T-62 tank of the North Korean Army from the late 1960s can not be on an equal footing with a South Korean K2 Black Panther tank from 2013", Bonn International Center for Conversion expert Martin Bales told Deutsche Welle in 2017. "Over here, in our country, some people would rather see this historic deal fail than give Trump a win, even if it does save potentially millions & millions of lives!"

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