The government announced today the suspension of new joint military maneuvers with South Korea, a gesture that aims to encourage diplomatic negotiations with North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, the Pentagon reported.
“The Secretary of Defense, James Matis, and the Minister of National Defense (of South Korea), Jeong Kyeong-doo, have decided to suspend the maneuvers ‘As Vigilante’ to give every possible opportunity to the diplomatic process,” the spokeswoman said. of the Pentagon Dana White in a statement. Also, the note adds, both countries have agreed to “modify” their training exercises to, in any case, maintain the preparation of their troops.
“They have committed to maintaining close coordination and assessing future maneuvers,” White said of the agreement reached between Mattis and Jeong. According to White, who is currently meeting with the Secretary of Defense of official travel in Thailand, the Pentagon “consulted” this decision with Japan, a country to which, in any case, reaffirmed its commitment “to security in the region ”
The maneuvers “As Vigilante” is a military exercise that is held annually at the end of the year and that has the participation of about 12,000 soldiers, with the aim of strengthening the preparation of the Air Forces of both countries. The suspension of these maneuvers is in addition to the cancellation a few months ago of the “Guardian of Freedom” exercises, in which about 17,500 military personnel had to participate and which were canceled following the summit between the president, Donald Trump, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, held in Singapore.
On August 28, Mattis described the decision as a “gesture of goodwill” towards North Korea and assured that, at that time, the Pentagon did not consider suspending more exercises, although he was open to that possibility.