Seoul, South Korea – South Korea on Tuesday presented a united front with the United States over the decision to suspend a major military exercise, a week after the surprise announcement by President Donald Trump that he would suspend such exercises with the Asian ally of all life. Shortly after the US and South Korean military formally announced thatscheduled for August had been canceled, the Seoul Ministry of Defense said the decision was necessary to support the current talks of both countries with North Korea.  "South Korea and the US made the decision as we believe this will help maintain that momentum," said Choi Hyun-soo, spokesman for the ministry.
The announcementafter President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week. After the summit in Singapore, Trump said he would suspend the US military "war games" with South Korea unless and until talks are broken to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
His statement seemed to catch South Korea and the Pentagon by surprise, but they presented a united front to cancel the next exercise.
Dana White, spokeswoman for the US Department of Defense. UU., Said that the planning of the summer drills had stopped, but no decisions were made on any other military exercise with South Korea. Joint exercises with Japan and other Pacific countries will continue.
Choi echoed that nothing has been decided in other exercises. She was not willing to give a direct answer when asked if there had been any discussion among the Allied armies about the suspension of the drills before the sudden announcement of Trump.
"We consider the current denuclearization negotiations with North Korea to be crucial, so as long as those negotiations continue, the decision of the governments of South Korea and the United States will continue," he said.
The Japanese defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, showed understanding for the measure, but stressed the need for the two countries to continue their other joint drills.
He called the exercises of the United States and South Korea "important pillars" to maintain regional peace and stability. The plans for the exercises in the United States and Japan have not changed, he added.
Last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian lasted 11 days in August and involved approximately 17,500 US soldiers. UU And 50,000 from South Korea. Other nations that contributed their forces during the 1950-53 Korean War, including Australia, Great Britain, Canada and Colombia, also participated.
Summer military exercises generally coincide with a national civil defense drill in South Korea in which ordinary people take refuge in buildings and subway stations to the sound of anti-aircraft sirens. Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-keum said the civil simulation could be carried out as planned, suspended or modified to reflect "changing circumstances."
The other major US military exercises with South Korea – Key Resolve and Foal Eagle – took place in early spring. Historically they include live fire drills with tanks, airplanes and warships and have around 10,000 American and 200,000 Korean soldiers. The drills were delayed this year due to North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
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