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

S. Korea, Japan to hold working-level talks

The two countries have not pursued diplomacy since a high level talk failed earlier this month. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that an official handling Asia-Pacific affairs will visit Japan to meet his counterpart amid mounting tensions between the two countries. Kim Jung-han, director general for Asian and Pacific Affairs at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, will meet Shigeki Takizaki to discuss matters of mutual interest, the ministry said in a press release. This is Kim’s first one-on-one meeting with Takizaki, who replaced Kenji Kanasugi as head of Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian affairs departmen


By The Korea Herald
September 20, 2019

Diplomacy

PM Imran expresses Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia in face of threat to security

Saudi Arabia say they were attacked by Iranian drones. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and expressed Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia “in the event of a threat to its sanctity and security”, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said. The premier condemned the recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities and assured King Salman of Pakistan’s continued support to the Kingdom. According to the PMO statement, Prime Minister Imran also briefed King Salman on the current situation in occupied Kashmir. “King Salman reiterated the Kingdom’s solidarity and long-held support on the Kashmir issue,” said the statement. The two leaders discussed relations between the two countries as well as the regional and global political situation. They also talked about other matt


By Dawn
September 20, 2019

Diplomacy

China demands US drop bill on HK

China has accused the United States of meddling in the past. China on Thursday demanded the United States stop advancing a Hong Kong-related bill and its interference in Hong Kong affairs on Thursday, after US lawmakers held a news conference to back the bill. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan group of members of Congress held the media event on the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”. Hong Kong separatists, including Joshua Wong Chifung and Denise Ho Wan-see, attended the event. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to the move, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday. Pelosi and other US politicians “failed to distinguish right from wrong” despite China repeatedly expressing its solemn stance over US meddling in Hong Kong affairs, Geng said. They were “brutally interfering in China


By China Daily
September 20, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan denies India’s request for use of airspace by Modi for flight to Germany

The latest in a series of escalating diplomatic tit-for-tats. The government on Wednesday announced its decision not to grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the decision has been made “keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir”. “A request was received from India saying that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to use Pakistani airspace for an overflight on the 20th to Germany and wishes to use the same for a return flight on the 28th,” said the foreign minister in a video statement. “Keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir and India’s attitude witnessed in the tyranny and oppression [suffered by Kashmiris] and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request,” he said.


By Dawn
September 19, 2019

Diplomacy

Challenges loom for Asia’s digital landscape

An overview of digital strategies across Asia in light of the first ever annual Digital Economy Report released by UNCTAD last week. Last week, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its first ever annual Digital Economy Report (2019). It came at a time when countries across Asia have been grappling with a complex digital future. Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services without leakages, reduce opportunities for graft, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world, grow economies, have the potential to create millions of new jobs and, it appears, even help fight fake news. On the flip side, there are concerns of the cost of the emerging digital economy in terms of loss of traditional employment sectors, eroding the right to privacy, abetting authoritarian state-control of citizens’ lives, causing a s


By Ishan Joshi
September 19, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan strongly condemns India’s remarks about ‘having control’ of AJK one day

The remarks were made by India’s foreign minister. India’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that Azad Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India and that he expected New Delhi to gain physical control over it one day, raising the rhetoric over the territorial dispute. In response, Pakistan strongly condemned and rejected “the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and AJK”, according to a statement by the Foreign Office. The statement also called upon the international community to take note of the “aggressive posturing”. India claims the heavily populated Kashmir Valley while Pakistan has a wedge of territory in the west of the disputed region — Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “Our position on [Azad Kashmir] is, has always been and will always be very clear. [Azad Kashmir] is part of India and we expec


By Dawn
September 18, 2019