South Korea, US resume suspended joint marine drills

5th November 2018 - 11:41 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Seoul


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South Korea and the United States resumed small-scale military training that was indefinitely suspended following a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The combined marine drills were among ‘select’ joint exercises that were indefinitely delayed in June, after Trump met with Kim in Singapore and pledged to halt ‘very provocative’ and expensive joint military drills with Seoul.

But the Korean Marine Exchange Programme (KMEP), involving 500 marines from the US and South Korea, will resume for two weeks from 5 November in the South's southern city of Pohang, Seoul's defence ministry said.

‘We have previously said we will conduct US-South Korea battalion-level or small-scale drills as planned,’ ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo told reporters.

Washington is Seoul's security ally and stations 28,500 troops in the country to protect it from its nuclear-armed neighbour.

The two countries have long carried out joint exercises which they insist are purely defensive in nature, but which Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for invasion.

Along with the marine drills, Seoul and Washington suspended the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian training in August involving tens of thousands of troops.

They also agreed to halt the Vigilant Ace air force exercise slated for December.

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