South Korea and the United States have started discussions about whether to suspend joint military exercises and will announce a decision in the near future, according to South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae Friday. The two allies are reportedly already in talks to negotiate the suspension of their military drills including the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) scheduled to begin this August.
“Our stance is that it is necessary to carefully reconsider military pressure measures against the North at a time when good dialogue is underway between North Korea and the United States,” said a senior presidential official. “The United States concurs considerably with our position, and thus we have started negotiations on this issue.” The official implied that the two countries had already been in talks, by saying that “South Korea and the United States are in close consultation over several security issues.” As Cheong Wa Dae has officially announced its stance following President Moon’s remarks hinting at the possible suspension of joint military exercises, it is likely that the decision on whether to halt the drills including the UFG will be announced soon.
Still, the presidential office drew the line at the possibility of the United States withdrawing troops from the South. “It is an issue between Seoul and Washington, and thus should not be a topic for negotiations between North Korea and the United States,” said the official. “There has been no discussion between the South and the United States on this issue, and there is no change in position.”
Sang-Jun Han firstname.lastname@example.org