South Korea to refrain from publicising joint war games with US

South Korean naval officers leaving Jinhae military port in Changwon, South Korea, on May 28, 2018.
South Korean naval officers leaving Jinhae military port in Changwon, South Korea, on May 28, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (XINHUA) - The South Korean military plans to refrain from publicising the upcoming joint war games with the United States, Seoul's Defence Ministry said on Monday (June 4).

Lee Jin Woo, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence, told a press briefing that the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise in June and the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills in August will be held as planned.

The comments came after South Korean Defence Minister Song Young Moo and his US counterpart James Mattis held talks on Saturday on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Song and Mattis reportedly agreed to keep future joint military exercises "low-key".

Asked about whether South Korea and the US will scale down or cancel the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, the deputy spokesman for the Seoul ministry said no discussion nor review has been made. North Korea has denounced the computer-simulated war games, saying they are a rehearsal for an invasion.

On Sunday, the North's official daily Minju Joson slammed the South Korean military for joining the two military drills with the United States, which it said ran against the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration.

The Panmunjom Declaration was signed by South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their first summit meeting on April 27. They promised to refrain from military confrontation and seek peace on the Korean peninsula.

Moon and Kim met again on May 26 to confirm their commitment to the Panmunjom Declaration.