Suspension of US–South Korea Joint Military Exercise Soon to Be Announced

June 17, 2018 Last Updated: June 18, 2018

South Korea and the United States are expected to formally announce the suspension of large-scale joint military exercises this week, in accordance with President Donald Trump announcing that he would cancel the “provocative war games” after his June 12 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

“The South Korean and U.S. military authorities have been having close consultations over the combined exercises that U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will stop,” Yonhap reported, quoting an unnamed source. “This week, the South Korean and U.S. defense ministries will jointly announce the results of their discussions.”

After his historic summit with Kim, Trump described the long-established joint military exercises with South Korea as “provocative, inappropriate and expensive,” and said that he will stop them.

The joint exercises, which have been maintained for decades, are based on a series of contingency plans that sought to prepare American and South Korean forces to confront North Korea’s aggression in a wide range of scenarios, from limited attack to full-blown war.

Trump’s decision to stop military exercises with South Korea has received mixed reactions. While some experts describe it as a necessary gesture in facilitating denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, others say that it could derail the longstanding U.S. alliance with Seoul and could potentially embolden Kim’s aggression.

Yonhap’s source also said, however, that there will likely be a “snapback” clause allowing the exercises to resume should the Kim regime fail to deliver on its denuclearization commitment.

In a joint statement with Trump following the summit, Kim promised that he will commit to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, though no specific details such as timeline or method for disarmament were given.