Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

South Korea suspends drills as ‘tremendous’ U.S. war exercise costs revealed

South Korea suspends drills as ‘tremendous’ U.S. war exercise costs revealed

After Trump met with the North's leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, the president announced he would halt all joint "war games" with South Korea so long as North Korea was negotiating in good faith.

He said the government and military would work to design a new civil defence programme to be launched next year that will be aimed at preparing people for natural disasters and terrorist attacks in addition to military attacks.

Some North Korean media statements have suggested that "denuclearization" would require the complete removal of American assets from Asia, as the United States is a nuclear power.

There had been criticism on whether the civilian exercises were adequately preparing South Koreans from North Korean threats.

Many schools didn't participate in the air-raid drills.

Following Pompeo's departure last week from Pyongyang, however, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the nation's official state news outlet, condemned the United States for its "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization just calling for CVID, declaration and verification, all of which run counter to the spirit of the Singapore summit meeting and talks".

"The White House has essentially tried to shoot for the moon and total disarmament, and it's clear that North Korea is not only not willing to do that, but sees very little reason to take steps in that direction".

Trump later added on Twitter that the decision would "save a fortune".

The around US$14 million is not an insignificant sum, but represents only a tiny portion of the Pentagon's US$700 billion budget.

Rob Manning, the Pentagon spokesman who provided the $14 million figure for the suspended military drill, did not have a breakdown explaining how defense officials arrived at that cost.

The ministries added the military will continue to carry out other regular training drills as planned, while combined exercises with the United States will be decided through close consultation between Seoul and Washington.

The annual exercise, which normally begins in late August, involved more than 50,000 South Korean and 17,500 USA troops a year ago.

It is based on a computerised command-and-control drill that Pyongyang considers a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.

According to a South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, Trump's decision to give Kim the CD comes after a conversation the two leaders had over lunch during their summit in June.

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