S. Korea, US to decide soon on whether to halt military drills – agency

South Korea and the US have launched discussions about whether to suspend joint military exercises and will announce a decision in the near future, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday.

“President Moon Jae-in has already stated his position with regard to Korea-US joint exercises and the National Security Council said it’s going to consult closely with the US based on that,” a senior presidential official was quoted as telling reporters in Seoul.

“In accordance with the guidelines, Korea-US discussions have already begun,” he said. “Though nothing has been decided yet, we’re going to announce a decision soon in the near future through close consultations between the South and the US.” The possible suspension of joint military drills between the South and the US has emerged as a key topic after US President Donald Trump suggested the idea after historic summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this week in Singapore, saying such maneuvers are costly and provocative.

Moon also expressed his willingness to suspend such drills, saying Thursday that it’s necessary to flexibly change military pressure on the North if Pyongyang implements denuclearization measures and sincere dialogue continues between South Korea and the North.

The official echoed Moon’s remarks that it’s necessary to carefully reconsider military pressure measures against the North at a time when good dialogue is under way between the South and the North and between the North and the US.

On Thursday, the defense ministry said that Minister Song Young-moo discussed the issue when he had a phone call with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. North Korea has long denounced such drills as rehearsal for invading the nation.

Source: Kuwait News Agency