The drills, which have been staged in August every year, consist of the Ulchi defensive command post exercise staged by the South Korean government and the Freedom Guardian computerized command and control training by South Korean and USA troops.
South Korea on Tuesday presented a united front with the United States on a decision to call off a major military drill, one week after US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement that he would suspend such exercises with the long-time Asian ally. "No decisions on subsequent wargames have been made". Seoul's Defense Ministry said Friday that Defense Minister Song Young-moo held "deep" discussions about the drills with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in a telephone conversation Thursday evening.
South Korea's top diplomat also said the sanctions on the North "will remain in place" until concerned parties can ensure that complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula has been fulfilled.
In a joint statement afterwards the North committed to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", without making an explicit commitment to give up its weapons.
When the two Koreas formed their first-ever unified Olympic team - a joint women's ice hockey squad - for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February, there was criticism in Seoul that some South Korean players were being pushed out. Cricket has done wonders in India and Pakistan relations, so maybe basketball can do the same for North and South Korea.
The ministry also said that there is no decision yet regarding other allied training exercises.
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This is the first time in 26 years that joint military exercises is suspended.
When asked about how the worldwide community could provide incentives for North Korea, the South Korean foreign minister said there were "a lot" of measures that could be taken prior to lifting sanctions.
Seoul and Washington describe the move as a temporary measure to prolong ongoing detente on the Korean Peninsula and increase the chances of successful nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
The decision to halt military exercises in South Korea has bewildered many current and former US defense officials, who only learned about it when Trump made his remarks.
USA military sources insisted the United States and South Korea would stage next year's war games if the North did not show serious signs of getting rid of its nukes. "Plus, I think it's very provocative".
The U.S. government has made it clear that the suspension will only continue as long as the North Korean government is willing to engage in dialogue with it.
The U.S. and South Korea hold major joint exercises every spring and summer in South Korea.