North Korea denies role in mine blasts that maimed two South Koreans


Last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises went on for 11 days in August and involved some 17,500 USA and over 50,000 South Korean troops.

The joint participation in the Asian Games was already agreed upon at the April 27 summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

"Following close cooperation, South Korea and the U.S. chose to suspend all planning activities for the UFG, the defensive exercise slated for August", Seoul's Defence Ministry said.

"Our position is very much that until we get concrete action (toward complete denuclearization), (the U.N.) Security Council sanctions need to be in place and faithfully implemented", Kang Kyung-wha said at a press conference in Seoul.

North Korea failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, while the South advanced to its ninth consecutive World Cup and was set to face Sweden in the opening Group F game at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in western Russian Federation on Monday.

Both sides also agreed at a round of talks on their heavily fortified border to hold a series of basketball matches in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on July 3-6, marking the anniversary of a July 4, 1972, inter-Korean agreement on unification, they said.

In foreign policy, both South Korea and Japan are U.S. allies and view North Korea as a common enemy; however, their bilateral relations remain heavily strained over historical and territorial rows.

President Trump opened the doors for friendly relations through basketball, and it is no secret that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un loves basketball.

White also said the decision on Ulchi Freedom Guardian has "no impact on Pacific exercises outside of the Korean Peninsula". The Pentagon rarely uses the words "war game" for joint military drills and it is a phrase more often seen in North Korean state media. That announcement seemed to catch senior military officials by surprise though the Pentagon said Defense Secretary Mattis was consulted beforehand about the president's announcement.

In addition, North Korea's missile development and other provocations in recent years have bolstered the scale of the U.S.

The U.S. government has made it clear that the suspension will only continue as long as the North Korean government is willing to engage in dialogue with it.

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.

Of the Japanese respondents, only 10.2 percent said they believe North Korea's nuclear issues will be resolved within a decade, slightly exceeding last year's figure of 7.4 percent.

Certain aspects of the exercises and North Korea's responses have been especially sensitive.

Commenting on the historic U.S.

However, White went on to say that department had made no decision on future military exercises beyond August.

Last week, Trump made the surprise announcement that the U.S. would halt "war games" with its South Korean security ally - without making clear when the freeze would begin.