South Korea and the United States defence chiefs held in-depth discussions over their combined military exercises days after the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
This came amid the reports of South Korean President Moon Jae-In considering suspending the military drills with the US to uphold the recently-developed bilateral ties with North Korea.
As reported by the Yonhap News agency, South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo and his US counterpart James Mattis held a 30-minute telephone conversation to discuss various military drills, including Ulchi Freedom Guardian, between the two countries.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise is a computerised command and control implementation, which focuses on teaching defensive tactics to South Korea built during the Korean war of 1950.
The discussions came after Trump ensured in the Singapore summit that he would end “expensive, provocative and inappropriate” war games with South Korea.
Further, the two ministers agreed on strengthening their efforts to provide bilateral defence support and work towards the agreement between North Korea and the US to end such activities that might hinder the peace process with the latter.
Song noted the need for “flexible change” as to military pressure on the North in line with the April 27 inter-Korean summit declaration, which called for confidence-building measures, if the talks with the North proceeded well.
However, the defence experts of South Korea argued that any change in the military drills could weaken the present security alliance with North Korea.