June 25, 2018 10:26
South Korea and the U.S. on Saturday announced they will also suspend tactical marine exercises scheduled for next month while denuclearization talks with North Korea are underway.
The decision came as a surprise because there had been no prior consultation between the Marine Corps of the two countries. It follows the suspension of the massive Freedom Guardian joint exercises in August.
The two defense ministries announced the indefinite suspension of the Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to start in July.
A total of 19 small-scale drills under the program had been planned for the year and 11 had already been carried out.
The Defense Ministry here indicated that all joint military drills with the U.S. could be suspended, saying, "There could be follow-up measures if the North continues productive negotiations in good faith."
Earlier, on June 12, the White House said routine drills would continue and only large-scale drills would be suspended.
A government source here said, "the Marine Corps of the two countries were notified by the defense ministries while they were already preparing for the exercises."
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump in an exclusive interview on TBN on Saturday complained the costs of joint drills. "They cost a fortune. We fly bombers all the way from Guam six and a half… drop bombs and then they go to Guam, then they come back for a second time. It's crazy. We spend tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars on these war games we're not being reimbursed by South Korea."
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