The U.S. and South Korea announced late Saturday the two countries will end annual large-scale joint military exercises as part of diplomatic efforts to “achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
In a statement, the Pentagon said acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and South Korea Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo in a phone call Saturday decided to end the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises.
五角大楼在一份声明中说，美国代理国防部长沙纳汉和韩国国防部长郑景斗在星期六的电话通话中决定停止“关键决断”（Key Resolve）和“鹰鹞”（Foal Eagle）系列军事演习。
Shanahan tweeted Saturday: "Today ROK MinDef Jeong Kyeong-doo & I agreed to maintain strong military readiness through newly designed Command Post exercises & revised field training programs. Together we are ready to meet any security challenge. "
The Pentagon statement added, “Both the Minister and Secretary agreed that close coordination between the military activities of the United States and Republic of Korea will continue to support diplomatic efforts.”
The decision comes three days after a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam that ended without an agreement to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry released a similar statement, according to the Associated Press.
North Korea has denounced the U.S., South Korea joint exercises as aggressive provocations and rehearsals for war.
Ending the exercises could be seen as a good-faith gesture to keep nuclear talks with North Korea alive following the failed Hanoi summit, and to address Trump’s concerns about the high cost of these massive demonstrations of force.
The annual joint drills, which are usually conducted in the spring, were first postponed in 2018 to facilitate North Korea’s peaceful participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics that were held in South Korea.
Trump suspended the exercises indefinitely after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last June in Singapore, where the two leaders agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.