US/South Korea resume low-key military drills ahead of talks with North Korea

The United States and South Korea will begin small-scale military drills on Monday just days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with a North Korea official to discuss denuclearization and plans for a second summit between the two countries.

The Korean Marine Exchange Program was among the training drills that were indefinitely suspended in June after U.S. President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore and promised to end joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises often criticized by the North.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Defense confirmed a round of training would begin near the southern city of Pohang, with no media access expected. About 500 American and South Korean marines will participate in the maneuvers, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Last week, South Korea’s defense minister said Washington and Seoul would make a decision by December on major joint military exercises for 2019.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo, interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said he would be in New York City at the end of this week to meet with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong-chol.

“I expect we’ll make some real progress, including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place, where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization,” Pompeo said.

[Reuters]

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