SEOUL, –– South Korea and the United States have decided to suspend their annual combined military drills on the inter-Korean summit day, defense authorities here said Thursday.
The South Korean military will instead focus on providing “stable support” for the talks between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be held at the border village of Panmunjom, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The allies kicked off the Key Resolve command-post training in Korea on Monday for a two-week run and agreed to finish the first part of the drill on Thursday.
“The South Korean and U.S. military authorities have decided to conduct the first part of the 2018 KR through Thursday, jointly concluding that the intended goals of the exercise have been attained,” the JCS said.
They plan to continue the second part of this year’s KR after the summit day break.
The two sides have also effectively wrapped up the Foal Eagle field training that began on April 1. At that time, the JCS announced it would last four weeks.
“Most of the programs in the Foal Eagle exercise will finish today,” a military official said. “You can say that the training virtually comes to an end today.”
The allies usually open the large-scale drills in late February or early March. This year they waited until the end of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
They are apparently playing low-key amid the peace mood in Korea, shortening the official training period and avoiding the deployment of such U.S. strategic assets as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.