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US/Korea to Suspend 'Costly War Games'

by Oui Tue Jun 19th, 2018 at 07:46:28 AM EST

[Minor edits and links added to article are mine - Oui]

US, South Korea suspend upcoming military exercises | DW |

Donald Trump appears to have come good on his promise to North Korea's Kim Jong Un by calling off an upcoming military drill with Seoul. Trump had called for an end to the "expensive and provocative war games."

Costly 'war games'?

Last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises went on for 11 days in August and involved some 17,500 US and over 50,000 South Korean troops. However, those exercises mostly focused on computerized simulations as opposed to field exercises with live firearms, tanks or aircrafts. Also participating were nations that deployed troops during the 1950-53 Korean War, such as Australia, the UK, Canada and Colombia.

Continued below the fold ....

It was during last year's drills that North Korea also sought to flex its military muscles by firing an intermediate-range missile over Japan.

Other major US-South Korea drills, such as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, took place earlier this spring. Historically, they have featured as many as 10,000 American and 200,000 Korean troops, and included live-fire drills with tanks, aircraft and warships.

South Korea Requests Delay of Springtime Joint Military Exercises With US

The South Korean government has asked the United States to consider delaying the start of their annual springtime joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February. The annual Foal Eagle/Key Resolve U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises typically begin around that time, but the South Korean government is concerned about possible provocations from North Korea as the exercises begin.

"It is possible for South Korea and the U.S. to review the possibility of postponing the drill," South Korean President Moon Jae-in remarked during a television interview. Moon clarified that the delay would only be possible should North Korea refrain from additional missile and nuclear tests in the meantime.

North Korea has carried out 23 separate ballistic missile launches and one test of what it claimed was a high-yield thermonuclear bomb in 2017. In 2016, it carried out 24 ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests.

"I have made such a suggestion to the U.S., and the U.S. is currently reviewing it. It all depends on how North Korea behaves," Moon said, emphasizing that the delay would be conditional on North Korean behavior.

A Timeline of Events ...

North Korean Provocations and U.S.-ROK Military Exercises | Beyond Parallel - April 2017 |
South Korea Elects Moon Jae-in, Who Backs Talks With North, as President | New York Times - May 9, 2017 |
Diplomacy toward North Korea: Some good news | Brookings Inst. - Sept. 2017 |
China wins its war against South Korea's US THAAD missile shield - without firing a shot | SCMP - Nov. 2017 |

From my diary ...

SE Asia: Reading Tea Leaves of Defunct British Empire

Further reading …

'Those are literally the North Korean and Chinese talking points’: why Trump’s decision to halt military exercises with South Korea makes allies nervous | SCMP |

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