South Korea and the United States are expected to cancel a combined air drill for the second straight year to avoid tensions with North Korea as denuclearization talks remain stalled, local media reported Saturday.
Citing an unnamed source, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported
that the military authorities from the two countries "shared the
understanding" to postpone the "Vigilant Ace" military air exercise.
Planned to take place around December across the Korean Peninsula,
the source told Yonhap that the countries are likely to conduct their
own individual drills instead.
He added that Seoul and Washington will make a final decision when
the two countries' defence ministers hold annual talks later this
Pyongyang has often accused the US of preparing an attack through
joint military exercises with its ally South Korea, threatening that
such manoeuvres would affect denuclearization talks.
US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the
military demarcation line inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
separating North and South Korea at the end of June and agreed to
resume negotiations on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.
Trump is seeking North Korea's denuclearization and has pressured the
communist country by ramping up economic sanctions, but progress has
stalled in the nuclear talks despite the high-profile June meeting.
US Air Force F-16 fighter jets take part in a joint aerial drill exercise called 'Vigilant Ace' between US and South Korea, at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, December 6, 2017