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S Korea, US suspend major military exercise

Seoul, June 19: South Korea and the US have decided to suspend the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise slated for August, amid dialogue efforts to denuclearize North Korea, the two countries’ officials said on Tuesday.

Shortly after his Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, US President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to stop “provocative, inappropriate and expensive” war games with the South, which Pyongyang has decried as an invasion rehearsal, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“Following close cooperation, South Korea and the U.S. decided to suspend all planning activities for the UFG, the defensive exercise slated for August,” Seoul’s Defence Ministry said.

“The South and the US plan to continue consultations over additional measures.” The ministry also said that there is no decision yet regarding other allied training exercises. The US Department of Defence also made the same announcement. “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’ (Freedom Guardian),” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement late Monday. The White House said that the combined exercises are expected to be “on pause” should the North deliver on its denuclearization commitment. (IANS)

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