The United States has canceled a major joint exercise with South Korea as a sign of good faith with the summit meeting with North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, where he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Consistent with President Trump’s commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the United States military has suspended all planning for this August’s defensive ‘wargame’,” Pentagon spokesperson Dana White, said in a statement.
“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,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The suspension of the military exercises reportedly will include a clause to resume the exercises if North Korea stops bargaining in good faith.
This is Kim’s third trip to China this year, coming a week after he met Trump in Singapore for historic talks.
Trump agreed to work with Kim toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, committed to provide the North’s regime with security guarantees and pledged to end “war games”, which Pyongyang and Beijing have long seen as provocative.
South Korea and the Pentagon announced they would halt the annual Freedom Guardian military drill scheduled for August.
In an unusual move, Chinese state media announced Kim’s visit and said he would stay for two days. Previously China would only confirm Kim had visited after he had left the country.
While critics of Trump are saying that he conceded these exercises with no assurances, they should recall that at the request of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis postponed the start of the Foal Eagle air, sea and land exercises prior to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea.
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