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'Trump didn’t promise cancellation of military exercise,’ top S. Korean official says

'Trump didn’t promise cancellation of military exercise,’ top S. Korean official says

Posted July. 22, 2019 07:34,   

Updated July. 22, 2019 07:34


A senior South Korean official said that its joint military exercise with the U.S. would go ahead as planned in August, Reuters reported Saturday (local time).

“The nature of the exercise is not offensive, but is for strengthening the alliance. Next month’s exercise would largely involve computer simulations and not troops in the field,” Choi Jong-kun, the secretary for peace planning to President Moon Jae-in, said at the Aspen Institute’s annual strategic forum. “As far as I know, President Trump did not promise the cancellation of this upcoming military exercise.”

The North Korean regime said on Tuesday, in an interview with the spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, that a decision to go ahead with the South Korea-U.S. joint exercises would be a clear breach of the agreements made between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two leaders had reaffirmed the suspension of the combined drills in their first summit in Singapore last year as well as the latest impromptu meeting in Panmunjom, the North argued, adding that proceeding with military exercises would affect the working-level nuclear talks.

Yet, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected Pyongyang’s charges on Wednesday. “I think we’re doing exactly what President Trump promised Chairman Kim we would do with respect to those exercises,” he said. “I think we’re going to, we’ll get that right. I’m confident that these conversations are going to continue.”

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com