US, South Korea scrap major military exercise again
Singapore, Oct 20: The Pentagon and South Korea are cancelling another major military exercise this year, citing a push for diplomatic progress with North Korea.
File image of Pentagon
The top Pentagon spokeswoman, Dana W White, says Washington and Seoul are suspending an air exercise known as Vigilant Ace "to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue."
That word comes while Pentagon chief Jim Mattis is in Singapore for a meeting of Asian defence ministers. Vigilant Ace is an annual exercise. It was held last year in December with US and South Korean air forces.
Pentagon Chief Jim Mattis
In June the Pentagon cancelled this year's Freedom Guardian exercise after President Donald Trump abruptly announced that he disapproved of the manoeuvers, calling them provocative and expensive. Trump made the announcement after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korean leader Kim Jong un
The relationship between US and South Korea began in 1950 when United States helped establish the modern state of South Korea and fought on its UN sponsored side in South Korea, they gained military relationship in 1953.
The relationship got strained during Roh Moo-Hyun's administration however it got strengthened under Lee Myung-bak administration. Former President Barack Obama called South Korea as "one of America's greatest friends".
Former US president Barack Obama
One of the most important reasons behind the formation of the two nations' alliance is North Korea was deterred from doing actions and the issue of de-nuclearization of the country. However due to the change of administration in both United States and South Korea in 2016 and 2017 now they both approach North Korea in a very peaceful way.