SEOUL – The South Korean presidential office indicated on Wednesday there was a possibility of suspending joint military drills with the United States to facilitate North Korea’s disarmament.
The statement came a day after US President Donald Trump spoke of stopping war games between Washington and Seoul during his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which they discussed the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“We believe there is a need to consider various ways to further promote dialogue as long as serious discussions are being held between the United States and North Korea for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of peace,” South Korean presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said at a press conference.
However, the spokesperson said there was a need to find out the exact meaning and intention of Trump’s remarks after the summit.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called a meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday to discuss the matter.
Moon is also scheduled to meet Thursday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss in detail the outcome of the summit between Trump and Kim.
The two leaders signed a joint declaration committing to start a new era in relations and establishing peace in which North Korea would work towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while Washington would provide security guarantees.
Several experts are of the opinion that suspending the drills was the best way to implement the guarantees for the survival of the regime that Washington promised in return for denuclearization.
Others believe that annulling the military drills will destroy the cornerstone of the military alliance between the US and South Korea prevalent since 1945 and throw the geostrategic balance in the area into disarray.