US, S Korea suspend joint military drills
The US Department of Defense says the United States and South Korea have agreed not to hold joint large-scale military exercises in the spring.
IranPress/Asia: The United States and South Korea announced Saturday that annual large-scale exercises, which were a cornerstone and recent common feature of the defence relationship between the two militaries, will end and will be reconfigured into smaller military exercises, CNN reported.
The announcement follows this week's summit in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that ended in failure. Trump and Kim failed to reach an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The large scale named military exercises, commonly known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, were scheduled for this spring. The joint exercises will be scaled back and done on a small unit level or even include virtual training similar to 2018 scaled back exercises.
The announcement follows a phone call Saturday between acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo.
"Following close coordination, both sides decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises," a readout from the Defense Department of the phone call said.
The US and South Korea will hold the military exercises from March 4 through March 12, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday.
The joint command post drills name will be 'Dongmaeng,' or alliance in English, and will replace Key Resolve. Foal Eagle drills will be replaced by a much smaller, battalion-sized exercise, the statement said.
The Dongmaeng exercise will highlight the longstanding and enduring partnership and friendship between the two nations along with their commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and regional stability, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Combined Forces Command said in a statement.
US former Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters last November that the 2019 version of the Foal Eagle exercise was being 'reorganized a bit' to keep from 'being harmful to diplomacy.'
Foal Eagle is the biggest of the regular joint exercises held by the allies.
In the past, it has involved 200,000 South Korean forces and some 30,000 US soldiers.
It is accompanied by Key Resolve, a computer-simulated war game conducted by military commanders which usually begins in March and runs for about 10 days.
Still, American and South Korean soldiers, airmen and sailors have continued to carry out joint training sessions. In addition, the two sides have staged so-called tabletop or virtual exercises that they have not advertised. 103/211/209