- The US and South Korea have agreed to stop joint military exercises for Friday’s historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- The joint war games, known as Key Resolve, will resume on Monday.
- The impending summit will set the tone for the heavily anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim.
The US and South Korea have agreed to stop joint military exercises for Friday’s historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The military will exert all efforts to ensure stable support for the inter-Korean summit,” the US-led Combined Forces Command and South Korea” military said in a joint statement,Stars and Stripes reports.
The joint war games, known as Key Resolve, will resume on Monday.
The impending summit will set the tone for the heavily anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim. A date has not yet been set for this sit-down, but the White House has suggested it could occur in May or June.
In the past, North Korea frequently complained about large-scale joint military exercises held by the US and South Korean militaries on the Korean Peninsula, often characterising them as rehearsals for an invasion.
The US has maintained the joint drills are not meant to antagonize Pyongyang and simply designed to ensure military readiness. But as North Korea and South Korea have rekindled relations in 2018, the US and South Korea have been more flexible about postponing or suspending such exercises in order to bolster the diplomatic process.
North Korea conducted a series of long-range missile tests in 2017 that infuriated the international community and significantly raised tensions with South Korea and the US. But at the start of 2018, North and South Korea resumed dialogue for the first time in roughly two years. As a result, North Korea participated in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. During the games, joint military exercises were paused, which aided the resumed dialogue between the North and South – countries that have technically been at war for over half a century.
More recently, North Korea announced it would cease nuclear and long-range missile tests and close its primary nuclear test site. This development has been applauded by the US and South Korea.
But Trump has often exhibited scepticism about the potential benefits of talks with North Korea. During an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Thursday morning, for example, Trump said, “It could be that I walk out quickly, with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows?”
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