The US Department of Defense (DoD), together with South Korea, has suspended all plans to conduct this year’s defensive war game, the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, which was stated to be carried out in August.
The decision has been taken by the US military and is consistent with President Donald Trump’s commitment to North Korea to promote mutual confidence between the nations and support the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
In a statement, Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana W White said: “We are still coordinating additional actions. No decisions on subsequent war games have been made.”
During the Singapore summit held on 12 June this year, four commitments were outlined, which included the establishment of new US-DPRK relations to promote peace and prosperity, jointly developing a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, working towards complete denuclearisation and recovering POW/MIA remains.
Trump tweeted: “Holding back the war games during the negotiations was my request because they are very expensive and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen.”
Having begun in 1976, the Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a command and control exercise that is conducted every year between the US and South Korea.
The exercise has been designed to improve readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.