US ending spring military drills with South Korea

US ending spring military drills with South Korea
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The U.S. and South Korea said on Sunday that large joint military exercises between the two nations will end as part of a push toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

The Pentagon said in a statement that acting Secretary of Defense Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran MORE and his South Korean counterpart, Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo, “decided to conclude" the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises and will instead stage smaller drills. 

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“The Minister and Secretary made clear that the Alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner,” the Pentagon said.

The two nations will “maintain firm military readiness through newly designed Command Post exercises and revised field training programs,” the Pentagon added.

A similar statement was issued by South Korea’s Defense Ministry, The Associated Press reported.

The AP added that the new training, which starts Monday, will last just more than a week.

South Korea’s military and the U.S.-South Korean combined forces command said in a joint statement that the drills will focus on “strategic operational and tactical aspects of general military operations on the Korean Peninsula,” according to the news service.

The AP also quoted U.S. officials who said the drills will involve battalions and companies instead of larger formations.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE has said the massive annual military drills were “very, very expensive” and called on South Korea to pitch in more.

The latest developments come just days after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a second nuclear summit in Hanoi.

That meeting ended abruptly with no agreement.

Trump announced after the first nuclear summit with North Korea last June in Singapore that large-scale joint military exercises would be suspended, though smaller exercises and training sessions have continued.