Kim Jong-un arrives in Beijing — Surprise

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The allied exercises are based on a series of joint contingency plans that delineate a series of procedures to handle a wide range of scenarios, such as a full-blown war triggered by attacks or invasion by the North.

At their landmark Singapore summit, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement in which North Korea committed to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

The issue will be addressed later this week at the Pentagon in a meeting involving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House national security adviser John Bolton, White said.

Describing the suspended exercise as "defensive in nature", the ministry added that there is no decisions yet regarding other joint exercises that follow the Freedom Guardian. The next major exercise with South Korea is known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian; last year's version was held for 11 days in August and involved about 17,500 USA troops.

Relations between the two communist nations appear to have strengthened in recent months as Beijing seeks to reward North Korea for their recent peace initiatives.

A Kim trip to China to discuss his summit with Trump had been widely anticipated in diplomatic circles.

The decision to halt military exercises in South Korea has bewildered many current and former US defense officials, who only learned about it when Trump made his remarks.

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"Just previous year, we were talking about the sheer number of ballistic missile launches the DPRK conducted and whether they were going to conduct yet another nuclear test", Mr. Lim said. Trump's critics charged that he had made a concession to Kim for nothing in return.

"The ministry did not specify what "other exercises" would be".

"We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should", Trump told reporters after his meeting last Tuesday with Kim in Singapore.

Until recently Trump had pursued a "maximum pressure" campaign - with both China and South Korea on board - of tough rhetoric and tightened sanctions against Pyongyang.

Trump's decision to suspend the exercises, coupled with the vague joint statement issued after his summit with Kim, have reinforced fears in South Korea that the North is attempting to take advantage of a U.S. president who appears to care less about the traditional alliance than his predecessors.

His claim on nuclear testing is correct insofar as North Korea, on April 20, announced that it would halt further nuclear tests because it had successfully attained the nuclear weapons designs that it sought over the course of six tests.

It is a decision that will no doubt please Kim, as North Korea has long denounced the exercise as a provocation and rehearsal to invade the North.

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