US, South Korea to end key joint military exercises
Published: 02:34 PM, 3 March 2019
The US and South Korea said Sunday they will end their annual large-scale joint military exercises as Washington pursues efforts to improve ties with North Korea.
The decision comes days after the conclusion of US President Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, which ended without a formal agreement but with both sides suggesting they would keep talking.
Trump has ruled out withdrawing any of the 28,500 US forces based in South Korea to defend it from its nuclear-armed neighbor, which invaded in 1950.
Any such drawdown would face strong pushback from the US Congress and Japan, whose conservative government is deeply wary of North Korea’s intentions.
But the US president has complained repeatedly over the cost of the military drills, which Pyongyang has always condemned as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
During a Saturday phone call between South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his US counterpart Patrick Shanahan, “both sides decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises,” according to a Pentagon statement.
Foal Eagle is the biggest of the regular joint exercises held by the allies, and has always infuriated Pyongyang.
In the past, it has involved 200,000 South Korean forces and some 30,000 US soldiers.
It is accompanied by Key Resolve, a computer-simulated war game conducted by military commanders which usually begins in March and runs for about 10 days.
The two allies will instead carry out “adjusted outside maneuver trainings and united command exercises to continue firm military readiness”, Seoul’s defence ministry said Sunday.
The decision was reached to support ongoing diplomatic efforts for North Korea’s denuclearization and ease military tensions with the North, it added.
Opponents of scrapping the drills have warned that it could impact the combat readiness of the combined US and South Korean forces and hand the North a strategic advantage on the divided peninsula, but most analysts said such concerns were exaggerated.
“Suspending or downgrading the US-South Korean drills may hurt the readiness of the two militaries, but I don’t think it’s going to be a serious security threat to South Korea,” Ahn Chan-il, the president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, told AFP.
“The South’s conventional forces outclass the North’s, and given the current situation (with the US and the existing sanctions), it’s highly unlikely that Pyongyang will do anything with its nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future,” he added.
Washington has sought to end long-running tensions on the peninsula and encourage North Korea to scrap its nuclear program.
Since Trump’s first summit with Kim last year in Singapore, in which both leaders signed a vaguely-worded commitment to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the US and Seoul have scaled back or scrapped several joint military drills, and US bombers are no longer flying over South Korea.
“Not downgrading or suspending the drills at this point… would mean the involved countries are not serious” about reaching a denuclearization accord, said University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin.
- Bribery scam: Ex-ACC Director Basir sent to jail
- New research unveils real cause of heart attack
- Four killed in Narayanganj’s 4 Upazilas
- ‘Stern action if killing people over child lifting rumor’
- 5828 multimedia classrooms installed in Rajshahi
- Sergeant Kibria’s father files writ seeking compensation
- Minni’s bail hearing Jul 30
- Three father of a newborn baby!
- Shokh to play Minni’s role in Eid
- Habits that extremely harmful for liver
- Rain likely to increase, temperature may fall
- Advance train tickets to be sold at 5 spots
- Fire breaks out at CMCH Psychiatry department
- 25 schoolgirls fall sick from laughing too much
- ‘Lion King’ roars as surpassing ‘Avengers’ record
- Ronaldo will not face rape charges
- Critical security flaw found in VLC Player
- Two robbers killed in Sundarbans gunfight
- Large-scale government data hacks in Russia, Bulgaria
- Mehazabien with new story
- Shinzo Abe wins Japan’s upper house poll
- National Public Service Day-2019 today
- Renu lynched in Badda: 2 more held
- Drug peddler killed in Meherpur gunfight
- Suspended ACC director Basir held
- Bangladesh to play warm-up match today
- ‘Child lifters’ rumor: innocence loses life
- Chandrayaan-2: India launches second Moon mission
- WHO to work with DSCC in combating dengue
- Bangladesh U-19 beat England U-19
- All News »
- Priya’s allegation is not correct: US Ambassador
- Child’s head in bag, youth lynched in Netrokona
- ‘Lady Killer’ Tisha to fight against formalin in food
- Priya falsify to Trump about Bangladesh
- Woman lynched over child-lifting rumour: 500 sued
- HSC exam results tomorrow
- Rifat murder: Minni at Police Line for questioning
- Renu lynched in Badda, 3 held
- Police want 10-day remand of Minni
- Rifat killing mastermind Minni; says police
- 8 boards attain 71.85 pc pass rate
- Stocks maintain positive trend
- None took ‘liability of denying legal support’ to Minni
- Edu Minister`s husband Toufiq Nawaz severely ill
- How to get HSC result
- Bangladesh to play warm-up match today
- Minni sent to jail
- HSC pass rate increases 7.9 pc
- Court dismisses Minni’s two petitions
- Put Myanmar for Rohingya return; FM urges US
- PM to inaugurate ‘Benapole Express’ Wednesday
- Country’s 7th mobile assembling plant to be launched with FDI
- Ershad’s namaz-e-janaza held in Rangpur
- Minni on 5-day remand
- Ershad’s body in Rangpur
- Man accused in 14 cases killed in gunfight
- Google shuts down AdSense on Android, iOS for web
- Another hit of Gully Boy!
- DIG Mizan shown arrested in bribery case
- Humanity for animal !