The Pentagon announced late Friday it would suspend “indefinitely” two more joint military training exercises with South Korean military that has been scheduled for the next three months.
The Freedom Guardian exercise, which was originally planned for August was suspended shortly after President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that ‘war games’ in the Korean Peninsula would be canceled. He made the announcement during his recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Pentagon has always referred to the joint exercises as defensive in nature while the president called them provocative in Singapore.
Dana W. White, chief Pentagon spokesperson said: “On June 22, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford, and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Ambassador John Bolton to discuss efforts to implement the results of the Singapore Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim.
“To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises. This includes suspending Freedom Guardian, along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months. In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK [North Korea] continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith.”
Mattis is expected to travel to Beijing next week for the first time. He will also visit Seoul, South Korea, to meet with the country’s defense minister Song Young-moo.
Only two reporters were present during Pentagon’s late Friday announcement because the rest had left for the day.