US & South Korea Revise Military Associations

President Donald J. Trump and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo by The White House.

At a joint conference in Washington D.C., Secretary of Defense James Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo signed an agreement of “Alliance Guiding Principles” designed to provide a broad overview for a revised structure of US-SK joint military operations.

Most notable among the changes is that the two countries are reviewing whether they will resume any large-scale joint military exercises next year.  As had been previously reported at TNB, the US had indefinitely ended all joint military operations while negotiations were ongoing with North Korea.  Military Times reports that three planned operations have been scrapped this year, and the decision on whether there will be any such actions next year is expected to be made by December.

General Robert Abrams, at the September confirmation hearing for his post as the head of US and UN forces in South Korea, said “I think there was certainly degradation to the readiness of the force,” because of the cessation of joint military exercises.

Meanwhile, a no-fly zone and a ban on military drills has commenced at the border between North and South Korea as the two nations attempt to normalize relations.  Per Reuters:

The agreement also bars live-fire drills involving fixed-wing aircraft and air-to-ground guided weapons in the no-fly area. South Korea and the United States had held such drills regularly until halting joint exercises in June.

The no-fly zone was a key sticking point for Washington because it would effectively bar close air support drills, in which airplanes provide firepower for troops who may be operating near enemy forces.

Despite the strengthening of Kim Jong Un’s position and the weakening of the US’ influence, General Mattis said that the US supports the new inter-Korean military agreement during the Wednesday conference.  He also stated that he is not yet concerned about a loss of combat capability caused by ending the exercises, in apparent contrast to General Abrams.

If the exercises resume, they will be limited by the new inter-Korean agreement.


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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.