See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

South Korea and US scrap war games in pursuit of diplomacy

Allies to launch Dong Maeng exercise this week to replace Key Resolve drills.


Written by

Updated: March 4, 2019

South Korea and the United States will launch the new Dong Maeng combined exercise this week to replace their springtime Key Resolve drills, their militaries announced Sunday.

Seoul’s Joint chiefs of Staff and the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command said that the nine-day command post exercise kicks off on Monday, two days after the allies’ defense chiefs decided to end the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle maneuvers to back diplomacy for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“Dong Maeng, which means alliance in English, has been modified from the previously held spring exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle and will focus on strategic, operational and tactical aspects of general military operations on the Korean Peninsula,” they said in a joint press release.

Seoul’s JCS Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki and CFC Commander Gen. Robert Abrams jointly said that the upcoming exercise is important for professional armies to train and maintain “a standard of readiness.”

“These exercises are crucial in sustaining and strengthening the alliance,” they were quoted as saying.

With the Key Resolve effectively supplanted by the new exercise, the allies are expected to conduct low-key battalion-or lower-level drills in place of the Foal Eagle field training throughout the year.

In telephone talks Saturday, Seoul’s Defense Minister, Jeong Kyeong-doo, and acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan decided to end the two exercises, reflecting their resolve to keep alive dialogue with Pyongyang despite the breakup of last week’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Pyongyang has criticized the exercises as rehearsals for invasion despite the allies’ argument that those regular drills are purely defensive in nature.

“The minister and secretary made clear that the alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner,” Seoul’s defense ministry and Pentagon said in a joint press statement.

The decision was based on recommendations by Gen. Park and Gen. Abrams, they said.

Jeong and Shanahan also affirmed their continued support for their armed forces, the CFC and the US-led UN Command for peace and security in the region.

On Thursday, Trump and Kim abruptly ended their two-day summit in Hanoi without a deal as they failed to compromise over the scope of Washington’s sanctions relief and of Pyongyang’s denuclearization. But they indicated they will keep the door open for talks.

The Key Resolve exercise refers to computer-simulated war games based on the allies’ contingency plans against North Korean aggression. It involves staff and troops from South Korea’s defense ministry and military, and those from the US Forces Korea and the US Indo-Pacific Command.

The exercise originated from the RSOI (reception, staging, onward Movement, integration) exercise, which was renamed the Key Resolve in 2008 due to the need to reorganize the exercise in line with a 2007 deal between the allies on the transfer of wartime operational control.

The RSOI was first staged in 1994 after the allies’ Team Spirit exercise, launched in 1976, was suspended amid diplomacy with Pyongyang.

The Foal Eagle field training was first launched in 1961. Since 2002, it was timed to coincide with the RSOI to enhance the efficiency of the combined drills. After the renaming of the RSOI in 2008, it proceeded together with the Key Resolve.

In recent months, the allies’ military authorities have repeatedly said that they are committed to facilitating ongoing diplomacy to denuclearize the North and foster a lasting peace regime on the divided peninsula.

Last year, Seoul and Washington suspended a set of major exercises, including the summertime Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise and wintertime Vigilant Ace air exercise, though they continued smaller-scale drills to maintain combat readiness.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Trump invites Asean leaders, including Duterte, to summit in US

Donald Trump, the US President has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Asean to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. US President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. “The invitation was first conveyed during the Asean-US meeting at the Asean Summit and related summits in Bangkok last November. The United States then reiterated its invitation through a letter dated Jan. 9, 2020,”the Palace said. The Palace also released a copy of Trump’s letter to the Asean leaders dated Nov. 1, given during last year’s Asean summit in Bangkok. “I would also like


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 20, 2020

Diplomacy

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un


By The Korea Herald
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy

Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked


By The Statesman
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy

Rallies rage on in India over citizenship law

Thousands of students flood streets of Delhi; Assam state sees five protesters shot dead. Thousands of university students flooded the streets of India’s capital yesterday, while a southern state government led a march and demonstrators held a silent protest in the north-east, to protest against a new law giving citizenship to non-Muslims who entered India illegally to flee religious persecution in several neighbouring countries. The protests in New Delhi followed a night of violent clashes between the police and demonstrators at Jamia Millia Islamia University. People who student organisers said were not students set three buses on fire and the police stormed the university library, firing tear gas at students crouched under desks. Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said opposition parties were using th


By The Straits Times
December 17, 2019

Diplomacy

China-US trade deal bullish news for both countries, rest of world

From Chinese state media. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the China-US deal on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement serves as bullish news for both countries and the rest of the world. Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China has, as always, been opposed to settling economic and trade disputes by imposing tariffs as there is no winner in a trade war. China has also rejected the use of unilateral pressure as it violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Wang. He pointed out that following rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, China and the United States have agreed on the wording of a phase-one economic and trade agreement, and the US side has promised to phase out additional tariffs on Chinese products. The agreement demonstrates the spirit


By China Daily
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy

Biegun arrives in Seoul amid deadlock in NK-US nuclear talks

Pyongyang says it conducted “another crucial test” at Sohae site. US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a “close coordination” with allies amid the deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang just weeks before the communist regime’s year-end deadline. A day before, North Korea issued statements to announce that it had carried out “another crucial test” at a satellite launching site, warning the United States to “hold off” any action to “rattle” the regime. During his three-day trip here, the US special envoy is expected to meet with officials here to discuss on the


By The Korea Herald
December 16, 2019