US, South Korea to end key joint military exercises

South Korea and the United States decided to suspend the annual joint military exercises between the two countries to facilitate the denuclearisation process of the entire Korean Peninsula, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Sunday.

Yonhap news agency reported that the decision to end the joint military exercises was taken during a telephonic conversation between Seoul’s Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

“The minister and secretary made clear that the alliance’s decision regarding the adjustment of the exercise and drills reflects both countries’ expectation to back diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions and achieve the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula through a final, full verified method,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, Sputnik quoted the US Department of Defence confirmed in a statement on Saturday (local time) the permanent end of two major joint exercises, dubbed as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle: “Following close coordination, both sides decided to conclude the KEY RESOLVE and FOAL EAGLE series of exercises.”

“The Minister and Secretary reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring the continued combined defence of US-ROK (Republic of Korea) combined forces to meet any security challenge, and agreed to maintain firm military readiness through newly designed Command Post exercises and revised field training programs.”

“The Minister and Secretary made clear that the Alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner,” the statement further read.

The announcement was made following the second summit that took place between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, last month in Hanoi, where the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

According to CNN, the US President also questioned the usefulness of the exercises citing the cost of exercises borne by the US over South Korea.

Also previously, the US, many times had suspended several larger military exercises in an effort to ease tensions with North Korea following the Singapore summit between Trump and Kim that took place in June last year.

(With ANI inputs)

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