U.S. military officials say they’ve received no guidance about canceling joint military exercises with South Korea, including drills scheduled for later this year
As of Tuesday morning, U.S. Forces in Korea are still moving ahead with plans for the annual exercise known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian.
“USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises — to include this fall’s schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian,” U.S. Forces in Korea spokesperson Lt. Col. Jennifer Lovett told Reuters on Tuesday morning. “In coordination with our [South Korean] partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance.”
The comments come just hours after President Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore. At the conclusion of the historic summit, Mr. Trump said he’ll freeze so-called “war games” with South Korea as negotiations with Mr. Kim continue.
He called the drills “provocative,” and said ending the exercises will also save the U.S. money.
But on Tuesday morning Pentagon officials said they’re still awaiting more detail from the White House.
“The Department of Defense continues to work with the White House, the interagency, and our allies and partners on the way forward following the [Trump/Kim] summit. We will provide additional information as it becomes available,” Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, spokesperson for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Washington Times.
Mr. Trump also said he ultimately hopes to bring home the roughly 28,000 U.S. forces currently stationed in South Korea, though that issue is not on the table right now, according to the president.
Pentagon officials also say there’s been no discussion about such a move....“Right now, the U.S. and South Korea are not engaged — and we’re the only ones who make up our minds on this — are not engaged in any reduction of U.S. forces’ talks, and I think we all wait until after this settles and we go forward,” Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told reporters Monday, hours before the Singapore summit began.