Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

U.S., S.Korea suspend more drills to bolster N.Korea diplomacy

U.S., S.Korea suspend more drills to bolster N.Korea diplomacy

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.

Just a day after complaining about South Korea's agreement to a no-fly zone, the pentagon has announced they are cancelling the Vigilante Ace exercise with South Korea for 2018.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his South Korean counterpart made a decision to cancel the joint military exercise, known as Vigilant Ace, "to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue", the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, Dana W. White, said Friday in a statement.

"Both ministers are committed to modifying training exercises to ensure the readiness of our forces", she added.

In June the Pentagon canceled this year's Freedom Guardian exercise after President Donald Trump abruptly announced that he disapproved of what he called U.S.

Mattis also expressed concern about China's militarization of the South China Sea during the trilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN Defense Ministers-Plus meeting. Some of the United States Air Force's most sophisticated aircraft participated in the exercise, including the F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.

"They pledged to maintain close coordination and evaluate future exercises", she said. North Korea hasn't conducted any intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear warhead tests since then.

Jeong said that South Korea wants to work with Japan and the U.S. to totally denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and to realize a peaceful North Korea.

Iwaya sought cooperation from South Korea, which is not now part of global efforts to monitor North Korea's transfer of goods at sea between ships in violation of United Nations sanctions, and Jeong responded positively, according to Iwaya.

Mattis has said the "good faith effort" of suspending that exercise was not open-ended and that he wanted to wait and see how future negotiations with North Korea progress before making a decision about future large-scale exercises, particularly the Foal Eagle exercise scheduled for the spring.

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.

White's statement said Iwaya was "consulted" on the matter.

Iwaya also told reporters that he agreed with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Jeong that cooperation among their defense authorities is necessary for North Korea's denuclearization.

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