The US and South Korea just announced they will end their annual large-scale joint military exercises as Washington pursues efforts to improve ties with North Korea.
The decision comes days after the conclusion of US President Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, which ended without a formal agreement but with both sides suggesting they would keep talking.
Trump has ruled out withdrawing any of the 28,500 US forces based in South Korea to defend it from its nuclear-armed neighbor, which invaded in 1950.
Any such drawdown would face strong pushback from the US Congress and Japan, whose conservative government is deeply wary of North Korea’s intentions.
The two allies will instead carry out “adjusted outside maneuver trainings and united command exercises to continue firm military readiness”, Seoul’s defense ministry said Sunday.
The decision was reached to support ongoing diplomatic efforts for North Korea’s denuclearization and ease military tensions with the North.