U.S. suspends more military drills with South Korea
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense James Mattis has “indefinitely suspended” military exercises with South Korea following the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Lt. Col Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Friday. Mattis suspended the Freedom Guardian exercise along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to take place in the next three months, Logan said.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills are largely computer-simulated war games held every summer and have drawn furious responses from North Korea, which views them an invasion rehearsal.
On Friday, Mattis with met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford and Mr. Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton to discuss ways to “implement the results” of this month’s Singapore summit.
“In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith,” Logan said.
North Korea typically responds to South Korea-U.S. military exercises with weapons tests and a string of belligerent rhetoric. During last year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile that flew about 310 miles in the longest flight by that type of weapon. Days after the drills, the North carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test to date.
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