Military drills suspended to avoid escalation of tension with N Korea: Trump

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Sunday (local time) said that the latest decision to terminate the spring military exercises with South Korea was aimed at saving “millions of dollars which are not reimbursed” and avoid the escalation of tension with North Korea.

“The reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S. for which we are not reimbursed. That was my position long before I became President. Also, reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing!” the US President tweeted.

The statement by the US President comes after the US Department of Defence on Saturday announced that the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises scheduled with South Korea have been curbed in order to facilitate the denuclearisation process of the entire Korean Peninsula.

However, South Korea and the United States will be launching a new nine-day Dong Maeng exercise on Monday to replace their Key Resolve drills, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) announced on Sunday.

Both countries added that the upcoming exercise is imperative for armies to train and maintain “a standard of readiness”.

Meanwhile, the low-key battalion-or lower-level drills are expected to replace the year-round Foal Eagle field training.

North Korea has previously criticised the exercises and has asked both South Korea and the US to cease military drills in the Korean peninsula.