Members of People's Democratic Party shout slogans during a rally to oppose military exercises between the United States and South Korea near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, June 15, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump promised to end "war games" with South Korea, calling them provocative, after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.The signs read " Stop Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises and withdrawal of U.S. troops." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Looming war games suspension raises concern in Seoul

June 15, 2018 - 3:33 am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — After being blindsided by President Donald Trump's decision to shelve major U.S. military exercises in South Korea, Seoul appears to be going along with it.

A senior South Korean presidential official said Friday that Washington and Seoul have begun discussions on temporarily suspending massive "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" exercises that usually take place in August and possibly other joint drills while nuclear diplomacy with North Korea continues.

Seoul's Defense Ministry says Defense Minister Song Young-moo held "deep" discussions about the drills with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in a telephone conversation Thursday evening.

Experts are split on whether Washington and Seoul are making the right move in suspending the exercises, which North Korea has long condemned as rehearsals for an invasion.

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