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Trump-Kim summit

Major military exercises ‘suspended indefinitely’ on Korean peninsula, says US official

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the US will halt ‘war games’ with its security ally Seoul, but he did not make clear when the freeze on the ‘provocative’ exercises would kick in

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 June, 2018, 9:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 4:24am

Large military drills between the United States and South Korea have been “suspended indefinitely,” a senior US official said on Thursday.

“Major military exercises have been suspended indefinitely on the Korean peninsula,” the official said, two days after US President Donald Trump said the US would halt joint military exercises with its security ally Seoul.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the US will halt “war games” with its security ally Seoul, but he did not make clear when the freeze on the “provocative” exercises would kick in.

Detailed Pentagon guidance is expected this week on carrying out Trump's decision to suspend the joint military exercises, CNN reported, also citing unnamed sources.

A US Defense Department spokesman declined to confirm or deny reports about the suspension.

“Our alliances remain ironclad, and ensure peace and stability in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan told the South China Morning Post.

“The Presidential summit outcome is the first step along the path to the goal: complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and a free and open Indo-Pacific. We are working to fulfil the President's guidance. The Department of Defense is aligned and continues to work with the White House to ensure we provide options that meet the President's intent.”

America has about 28,500 troops based in South Korea and they routinely train with their local counterparts.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which ordinarily starts in August, is a two-week drill based on a computerised command-and-control exercise.

Pyongyang considers it a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.

Following last year’s drills, the North fired ballistic missiles over Japan, triggering global alarm and a furious response from Tokyo.