Trump-Kim summit: US military in South Korea says no guidance on cancelling war games

A US Air Force F-22 Raptor lands at Gwangju Air Base in South Korea on May 16, 2018.
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor lands at Gwangju Air Base in South Korea on May 16, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - United States military forces in South Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday (June 12), after US President Donald Trump said war games would be ended amid talks with North Korea.

"USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include this fall's schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian," US Forces in Korea's Lieutenant-Colonel Jennifer Lovett said in a statement.

 

"In coordination with our ROK (Republic of Korea) partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defence (DoD) and/or Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM)."

Mr Trump said on Tuesday the US was stopping “very provocative” and costly military exercises with South Korea to facilitate denuclearisation negotiations with North Korea.

The US and its ally South Korea hold regular military exercises to the fury of North Korea, which has long seen the drills as preparations to invade it.

“The war games are very expensive, we pay for the majority of them,” Mr Trump told a news conference in Singapore after a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Under the circumstances, that we’re negotiating... I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games.”

South Korea’s presidential office said it needs to seek clarity on Mr Trump’s intentions are after he said Washington will stop joint military exercises.  

“At this point, we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions of President Trump’s remarks,” a Blue House spokesman said.