South Korea, US suspend major military exercise

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Last year, 17,500 American and more than 50,000 South Korean troops participated in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, although the exercise is mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than live field exercises that use weapons, tanks or aircraft.

"I think we've made clear that this is a goodwill gesture to strengthen the dialogue momentum at this point but they are not irreversible", she told media, adding Trump had seen the necessity of pausing the drills after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Consistent with President Trump's commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the United States military has suspended all planning for this August's defensive "wargame" (Freedom Guardian)", said Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokesperson.

Shortly after the US and South Korean militaries formally announced the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises slated for August had been called off, Seoul's Defense Ministry said the decision was necessary to support ongoing talks both countries have with North Korea.

"Now when we talk about action, there is a lot that can be done prior to lifting of the sanctions".

North Korea has opposed joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea as rehearsals for invasion.

The drill's suspension is likely the only concession that Trump could provide to Kim at a time when the North Korean leader has remained vague about his pledge to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested a joint hosting of the 2030 FIFA World Cup with other Northeast Asian countries at a meeting past year with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

His announcement appeared to come as a surprise to both the USA military and Seoul, and was not written in the official agreement signed between Trump and Kim on June 12.

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Some say the one-day summit helped extend a temporary detente on the Korean Peninsula, but others say it was light on substance and Trump made too many concessions to North Korea.

"The United States Forces Korea is the core part of the ROK-U.S. alliance, and the issue between allies should be discussed at the level of the alliance", Kang said.

It means this year's exercise has been postponed indefinitely.

North Korean diplomats talking to South Korean officials in the demilitarized border zone between the two countries reportedly offered to remove their long range artillery guns, which have been a dagger pointed at Seoul's throat for decades.

The UFG is a command post exercise based on computer simulated war games centreing on a scenario of an all-out war with the North. Other rewards that North Korea wants are an easing of global sanctions, establishment of diplomatic ties with the United States, and a reduction of USA troops in South Korea.

Commenting on the historic U.S.

A South Korean military expert pointed out that "North Korea is also relieved from the burden of deploying troops" by the suspension, and that it "effectively functions as financial aid to North Korea".

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