Seoul and Washington suspend joint military drills in South Korea

    19 de junio de 2018

    Seoul, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- South Korea and the United States announced on Tuesday a temporary suspension of their planned military maneuvers in August in South Korea to facilitate dialogue with North Korea and the potential denuclearization of Pyongyang.

    Both countries "have agreed to suspend all planning activities regarding the Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August," the South Korean defense ministry said in a brief statement on Tuesday, adding that nothing has been decided regarding other future maneuvers.

    US Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said that "consistent with President Trump's commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the US military has suspended all planning for this August's defensive war game Freedom Guardian."

    "We are still coordinating additional actions," she added. "No decisions on subsequent war games have been made."

    The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises are annual maneuvers involving thousands of South Korean and US troops, as well as some from a range of other countries.

    The decision to suspend these exercises was unexpectedly announced by US President Donald Trump after the historic summit held in Singapore last week with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which they agreed that Pyongyang would drop its nuclear program in exchange for the US guaranteeing the security of the regime.

    After Pyongyang announced weeks ago it would halt its nuclear and missile tests, Washington temporarily suspended the exercises as a gesture of goodwill and to help facilitate discussion on the denuclearization of North Korea.

    North Korea usually condemns these military maneuvers and considers them an attempt to invade its territory while the allies claim that these exercises are conducted for defensive purposes.