Washington, Seoul Suspend Joint Military Drill

Wind-down of 'irritating' war games US & South Korea suspend military drill planned for August

Wind-down of 'irritating' war games US & South Korea suspend military drill planned for August

North Korea could start the process of handing over the remains of troops, including Americans, missing from the Korean War within the next few days, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

"South Korea and the United States have agreed to suspend all planning activities regarding the Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August", according to a South Korean defense ministry statement.

"We are still coordinating additional actions", she said.

In announcing his decision, Trump said suspending the "provocative" war games would "save us a tremendous amount of money".

White said US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton would meet later this week at the Pentagon to discuss the issue.

Last week's Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un produced only a vague statement in which Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

By way of example, the South Korean president mentioned plans to connect the three countries' railway networks that would make it possible to deliver goods to Russian Federation and Europe via North Korea. It has long proposed a "dual suspension", whereby North Korea stops weapons tests and the United States and South Korea stop military drills, to encourage talks. The allies have insisted the drills are purely defensive, to ensure they would be ready at a moment's notice if the North were to attack the South. "No decision has been made yet with regard to other [joint military] exercises", the authorities said. Significant lobbying is also underway by South Korean entrepreneurs to restart the inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea's Kaesong - whose operations were halted by Seoul amid military tensions in 2016.

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North Korea is particularly sensitive to the involvement of nuclear-capable assets, including B-2 and B-52 bombers, and stealth fighters.

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

A brief explanation of U.S.

A report by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim told Xi at a welcoming banquet on Tuesday that North Korea-China ties are developing into "unprecedentedly special relations".

Earlier this year, the Pentagon and the South Korea military postponed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises until after the Winter Olympics and para-olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"The drills suspension is a joint decision by US and South Korea military authorities", she said.

North Korea has always criticised the "war games", often retaliating with their own show of military strength.

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