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

Taiwan becomes first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage

The legislation was passed on Friday. Taiwan made history on May 17 as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, after most lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voted to pass a Cabinet-sponsored bill that gives gay couples the right to get married. The bill, titled Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, cleared the legislative floor at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The new law will take effect May 24, allowing two persons of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register a marriage, with at least two witnesses signing the registration document. Either partner in the marriage will be allowed to adopt the biological children of the other, under the law. However, non-biological children who had been adopted by one partner before the marriage cannot be adopted by the other partner, it states. The New Power Party (NPP) caucus had submitted a motion


By ANN Members
May 19, 2019

Diplomacy

Can Pakistan play a role in Iran-US tensions

An editorial in Dawn newspaper looks at the role that Pakistan might play in the ongoing tensions. Tensions between the US and Iran, particularly in the Gulf, are rising and the situation has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the region. It is in this context that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that Pakistan was “closely following the situation” and would take a stand “that best served the national interest”. Pakistan is, of course, in a sensitive position as it has decades-old, deep relations with the US, while it shares a long border with Iran. Moreover, this country’s ties with the Gulf Arabs — particularly the Saudis — who are firmly in the American camp, are also cordial and have a strategic and defence dimension. In case of any hostilities


By Dawn
May 17, 2019

Diplomacy

China vows action as US moves to blacklist Huawei

Hopes of a trade deal recede as experts fear American companies could face a backlash. China has slammed the United States for putting technology giant Huawei on an export blacklist and said it will take “all necessary measures” to protect the legal rights of Chinese firms. The latest twist in the face-off between the US and China not only suggests that hopes of a trade deal are fast evaporating, but it could also delay the roll-out of 5G networks worldwide. US technology firms could also face a backlash, experts said. China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that it resolutely opposed any coun


By The Straits Times
May 17, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing stresses equality in trade talks with Washington

World market confidence dampened by escalation, Chinese state media says. Consultations between China and the United States are not a one-way street, and should be conducted amid a spirit of equality, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday in Russia. Wang said that it is pointless for one side to blame the other, or even to absolve themselves from responsibility. Wang stressed if one side is trying to place extreme pressure on the other, it will cause a legitimate counterattack. “The measures from us are not only to safeguard China’s own rights, but to protect the basic rules of the current multilateral trading mechanism,” Wang said. Wang made the remark in a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during his visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi. Experts warned that the rising US tariffs on Ch


By China Daily
May 16, 2019

Diplomacy

South Korea jobless rate rises to 4.4% in April

Weak job markets and uncertain macroeconomics have contributed to increased unemployment. South Korea’s jobless rate rose to 4.4 percent in April, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of a weak job market amid an economic slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It also marked the highest level for any April since 2000, when the corresponding figure stood at 4.5 percent. The number of employed people reached 27.03 million in April, an increase of 171,000 from the same month in 2018.


By The Korea Herald
May 15, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing vows retaliation on US trade

Ministry expresses ‘deep regrets’ in wake of added tariffs on Chinese goods. The Ministry of Commerce expressed “deep regrets” on Friday at the United States’ move to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports and vowed to take necessary countermeasures. The comments came shortly after the US increased the rate of additional duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, a move that economists said amounts to “typical trade bullying” that will backfire to hurt its own interests. The commerce ministry said in a statement that the 11th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations are underway, and China hopes the two sides can work together to resolve existing issues cooperatively. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing that a healthy and stable Sino-US relationship serves the


By China Daily
May 13, 2019