Korea suspend more drills to bolster N

21 October, 2018, 23:01 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Korea suspend more drills to bolster N

This exercise is different from the Freedom Guardian exercises that President Donald Trump canceled in June, before his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The president has also balked at the cost of the almost 30,000 American troops stationed at bases in South Korea and at one point seemed to threaten to remove them entirely.

At the conclusion of the summit, Trump announced that the United States had chose to suspend the August 2018 Freedom Guardian exercise, which comes alongside South Korea's own Ulchi 2018 exercise.

"Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo made a decision to suspend Exercise VIGILANT ACE to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue", said Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokesperson.

The Pentagon announced Defense Secretary James Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo had agreed to put off this year's version of Vigilant Ace, a large-scale air exercise slated for December.

"Both ministers are committed to monitoring training exercises to ensure the readiness of our forces". That word comes while Pentagon chief Jim Mattis is in Singapore for a meeting of Asian defence ministers.

Last year, Vigilant Ace had more than 230 aircraft, including six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, and around 12,000 US service members.

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The latest cancellation coincides with a change of command at U.S. Forces Korea, with General Vincent K. Brooks' upcoming departure. The exercise drew keen attention because it came shortly after the North conducted its third test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and declared the completion of its "nuclear force".

Officials say they don't want to be provocative, and wargames based around USA bombers tend to raise the most concern from the north, meaning such a cancellation was probably being pushed by South Korea, who wants to secure their diplomatic gains.

In September, Mattis said there had suspension of previous exercises had had a "negligible" effect on the readiness of USA troops stationed in South Korea.

Separately, the defense chiefs of Japan and the United States held bilateral talks in which they agreed that the existing plan to relocate a US military base from a residential area of Ginowan to a coastal area off Nago, both in Okinawa Prefecture, is the only viable one, the Japanese minister told reporters.

Iwaya said defense officials of the 3 countries should work closely to support their diplomatic authorities for the full implementation of the UN Security Council sanctions against the North.

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