South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Reuters
South Korea said on Tuesday it has decided to scrap an annual government mobilization drill this year as part of a suspended joint exercise with the United States but will carry out its own drills to maintain readiness.
The ministers of safety and defence made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday. The drill, called the Ulchi exercises, usually takes place every August in tandem with the joint Freedom Guardian military drill with the United States.
Seoul and Washington said in June they would halt the joint exercise after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to end war games following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.
Seoul’s presidential office has said the suspension of the combined exercise could facilitate ongoing nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States.
South Korea would develop a new drill model by incorporating Ulchi and the existing Taeguk command post exercises, which would be aimed at fighting militancy and large-scale natural disasters, the ministers said.
That incorporated exercise would be launched in October when the Hoguk field training drill takes place, the ministers said, Reuters reported.
“Our military will carry out planned standalone drills this year and decide on joint exercises through close consultations with the United States,” Defence Minister Song Young-moo said.
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