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Offbeat Pentagon weighs future of Korea drills after Trump nixes 'war games'

02:35  14 june  2018
02:35  14 june  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Pentagon: Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills

  Pentagon: Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was not caught off guard by President Donald Trump's announcement that he was suspending military exercises with South Korea, a spokeswoman said.Pressed on whether he was surprised by the decision to halt the military drills, spokeswoman Dana White said: "There were no surprises.

In the wake of Trump 's unexpected, almost offhand comments to reporters, the Pentagon had nothing to say about the future of the war games . Several hours after Trump 's remarks, the Pentagon put out a brief statement welcoming "positive news" from Singapore

“We will be stopping the war games , which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along Hours after Trump ’s declaration, the Pentagon yesterday afternoon insisted that US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had not been blindsided by Trump .

A US soldier takes part in a joint aerial drills called 'Vigilant Ace' between the US and South Korea at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on December 6, 2017. © KIM HONG-JI/AFP/Getty Images A US soldier takes part in a joint aerial drills called 'Vigilant Ace' between the US and South Korea at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on December 6, 2017. The U.S. military on Wednesday was looking at ways to ensure American forces in South Korea could still be fully trained and ready, a day after President Donald Trump suspended military exercises in a surprise concession to North Korea.

U.S. officials said it was unclear what types of training involving U.S. and South Korean troops might cross into Trump's now forbidden zone of "war games." But big, joint U.S.-South Korean exercises appeared off-limits under the new guidance.

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WASHINGTON: Pentagon officials were surprised Tuesday after President Donald Trump vowed at his summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un to cancel “provocative” joint military drills with South Korea . “We will be stopping the war games , which will save us a tremendous amount of money

WASHINGTON: Pentagon officials were surprised Tuesday after President Donald Trump vowed at his summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un to cancel "provocative" joint military drills with South Korea . "We will be stopping the war games , which will save us a tremendous amount of money

"Make no mistake, we are going to maintain the readiness of our forces in South Korea," said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official acknowledged, however, it was still not certain how that was going to happen.

Trump announced the end to the drills on Tuesday following his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, calling exercises expensive and "provocative" - echoing a North Korean criticism that the United States had long rejected.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to a small group of reporters in Seoul on Wednesday, said Trump was unambiguous that the exercises would be frozen as long as there were productive, good-faith negotiations with Pyongyang.

"His intention here was to put us in a place where we get the opportunity to have productive conversations connected to the denuclearization of North Korea," Pompeo said.

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President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the United States will end its “ war games ” with South Korea , this after meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in The “ war games ” are held annually with South Korea , and North Korea has often seen the military drills as practice for

The United States will halt military drills with South Korea while negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang continue, Donald Trump told the press after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Describing the exercises as “ war games

The decision to halt military exercises in South Korea has bewildered many current and former U.S. defense officials, who only learned about it when Trump made his remarks.

They fear it could erode the readiness of U.S. troops in one of the world's most sensitive military flashpoints who have long prided themselves on being able to "fight tonight," thanks to heightened training.

Critics, including in Congress, warn that an end to joint U.S.-South Korean drills could also erode the effectiveness of the military alliance between Washington and Seoul. They also balked at Trump's justification that cutting drills would save money.

WHAT TRAINING WILL BE ALLOWED?

A White House National Security Council official said some types of training would continue even after Trump's announcement.

"There is absolutely no change to our commitment to the defense of South Korea," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding: "Regular readiness training and training exchanges will continue."

S Korea and US discuss future of war games

  S Korea and US discuss future of war games Donald Trump surprised allies by announcing an end to the games, a long-held North Korean demand.Donald Trump made the surprise announcement following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The United States will halt military drills with South Korea while negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang continue, Donald Trump told the press after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Describing the exercises as “ war games

“We will be stopping the war games , which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should The pledge, absent from the joint statement Trump signed with Kim, appeared to come as news to both South Korea and the Pentagon .

U.S. Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, a former active-duty Air Force officer now in the Reserves, questioned how the military would differentiate between military exercises and "regular readiness training."

"They're part and parcel of the same thing," said Lieu, who sits on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

As the dust settled, it appeared increasingly unlikely that U.S. troops would be able to proceed with the annual Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a largely computer-simulated but large-scale exercise in South Korea that last took place in August 2017 and involved 17,500 U.S. forces joining South Korean troops.

Forces from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Britain also participated.

Republican Representative Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he believed the August drill would be affected.

"My understanding is the intention is to suspend the large joint training exercises," Thornberry said, adding that he supported the Trump administration's effort to give the negotiations a chance and "put North Korea to the test."

S.Korea, U.S. agree to suspend joint military drills scheduled for August -Yonhap

  S.Korea, U.S. agree to suspend joint military drills scheduled for August -Yonhap South Korea and the United States have agreed to delay a joint military exercise called the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian," South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday. The two countries were widely expected to announce the suspension of "large-scale" military drills this week after U.S. President Donald Trump surprised officials in Seoul and Washington when he pledged to end "war games" after his summit in Singapore last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.South Korea's Defence Ministry officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pentagon officials were surprised Tuesday after President Donald Trump vowed at his summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un to cancel "provocative" joint military drills with South Korea . "We will be stopping the war games , which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see

Trump made the remarks at a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, calling war games expensive and "provocative" - echoing a North A spokeswoman for U.S. military forces in Korea said they had not received any direction to cease joint military drills .

The traditional U.S. calendar for other major drills would not pick up again until next spring, officials say. That could give diplomats and military planners time.

The U.S.-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every spring with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month.

Max Thunder's air combat exercises so unnerved North Korea that it issued threatening statements that nearly scuttled the summit. Foal Eagle is designed to simulate war scenarios and involves ground, air, naval and special operations forces.

One possibility could be carrying out some joint training overseas - beyond South Korea. Within the U.S. military's Pacific Command, there are plenty of regular exercise opportunities.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Wednesday that his country's military exercises with the United States would continue, calling them vital.

Lieu dismissed the idea of holding the drills in Japan or Guam since the terrain would not properly simulate a conflict with North Korea.

"It would be sort of bizarre because Guam doesn't look like North Korea. Neither does Japan," he said. "So, it's not clear what the utility would be."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Jeff Mason in Washington and David Brunnstrom in Seoul; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Pentagon indefinitely suspends some more training exercises with South Korea .
<p>The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.</p>The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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