Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

U.S., South Korea Suspend ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ Joint Military Exercise

U.S., South Korea Suspend ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ Joint Military Exercise

A snapback clause is likely to be included in the historic announcement that the allied forces would resume the massive military exercise if North Korea failed to fulfil its commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Before conducting nuclear weapons tests, before even building facilities create fissile material, North Korea established a strong deterrent against South Korea and the US - artillery. The North rejected a South Korean proposal for family reunions past year, seeking the workers' return first.

"The South and the US plan to continue consultations over additional measures", the ministry added.

President Trump raised concerns over the future of the alliance when he said in Singapore that he would like to withdraw all or some of the over 28,000 troops in South Korea at some point in the future, as both a cost saving measure, and to reduce a perceived overextended us military presence overseas.

Until recently Trump had pursued a "maximum pressure" campaign - with both China and South Korea on board - of tough rhetoric and tightened sanctions against Pyongyang.

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In March, Kim told a visiting South Korean delegation in Pyongyang that he "understands" the situation regarding the joint drills, according to South Korea's National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong, who had led the delegation.

"Maybe in the future but right now our military is focused on assets and security in the peninsula because our security in the peninsula is still very vulnerable and we are focusing on our region", she said.

His announcement appeared to catch US 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 ministry added that there are no future military drills planned as yet, and that the two countries will continue to discuss the matter.

Troops who would have been involved in the exercises would still require training and certification, which would still cost money, said Abraham Denmark, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia under President Barack Obama.

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The suspension of the long-standing military exercise comes on the heels of the "no war games" pledge made by President Trump following his meeting last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Seoul's Defense Ministry said Friday that Defense Minister Song Young-moo held "deep" discussions about the drills with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in a telephone conversation Thursday evening.

South Korea and the United States are expected to announce their decision to suspend large-scale combined military exercises this week amid a dialogue with North Korea. "We are still coordinating additional actions".

Dana White, spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department, said planning for the summer drills had stopped, but no decisions have been made on any other military exercises with South Korea.

In her address, she said, "Our government has started a bold journey towards peace process in Korean Peninsula".

Since 2000, about 23,676 separated Koreans, from both North and South, have met or interacted through videolink as part of the program, the Hyundai Research Institute thinktank said. Without the guns in place, it's likely the USA or South Korea would have staged an invasion in place at some point during the decades-long military standoff.

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Japanese defense authorities believe that regular military drills between South Korea and the USA have exerted effective pressure on North Korea.

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