The United States and South Korea plan to scale down their annual major maneuvers so as not to jeopardize the process of détente with North Korea. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Wednesday in Washington that the maneuver concept for the coming year will be reworked „to keep it within a framework that does not jeopardize diplomacy.“
Usually, the maneuver involves thousands of ground, air and naval forces. Special commandos also participate in the major maneuvers that take place in spring. North Korea sees in the military exercise a provocative intimidation attempt by the United States and has repeatedly threatened war because of it.
The United States and North Korea are preparing a second summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. A first summit had taken place in June. At the meeting in Singapore, both heads of state had agreed in principle to a denuclearization of North Korea.
In addition, Trump had promised Kim at the meeting to stop the maneuvers with South Korea – also because they cost the American taxpayer a lot of money. The two allies have also canceled an exercise after the Trump-Kim summit.