South Korea, US suspend scheduled military exercise

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Last week, Mr Trump said the United States would halt "war games" with its South Korean security ally - without making clear when the freeze would begin.

The first major exercise to be affected would be Ulchi Freedom Guardian, the annual exercise mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than live-fire field exercises. The next major exercise with South Korea is known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian; last year's version was held for 11 days in August and involved about 17,500 USA troops.

The US-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month. "I think it's very provocative", he said. Last year, about 17,500 USA service members took part, as well as participants from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Moon said South Korea would carefully consider joint military drills with the United States and he asked his officials to cooperate with the United States on the issue, his office said in a statement at the time.

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Trump's nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, the retired admiral Harry Harris, backed the idea of a "pause" in major military exercises.

The meeting would have been unthinkable previous year when tensions escalated between the two countries after North Korea came into action to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of targetting the United States.

But the Trump administration has declined to provide any figures that back that assessment, and it's likely the USA military could carry out other training outside South Korea instead.

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"North Korea has great beaches", Trump told reporters after his summit with Kim.

With Trump's abrupt about-face, his administration appears to be acquiescing to North Korea's request.

Mattis said his call to South Korean Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo involved discussions of "mutual support to ongoing diplomatic efforts, to include how we are working together to fulfill the president's guidance on U.S. -ROK combined military exercises", according to a Pentagon readout of the call.

It is a decision that will no doubt please Kim, as North Korea has long denounced the exercise as a provocation and rehearsal to invade the North.

White added: "We are still coordinating additional actions".

The two sides are discussing the possibility of sending a joint team to the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.

Despite North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's commitment to complete denuclearization, first made at an inter-Korean summit in late April, 65.1 percent of Japanese respondents thought it would be hard to resolve the issue, nearly unchanged from the previous year, according to the poll conducted by Japanese nonprofit think tank Genron NPO and South Korea's East Asia Institute.