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(LEAD) Seoul hints at possible suspension of joint military drills with U.S.

All News 15:52 June 13, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional details, more background from 3rd para)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae hinted at the possibility of suspending joint military drills with the United States to assist ongoing denuclearization negotiations with North Korea on Wednesday, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would stop what he called expensive and provocative "war games" with South Korea.

"For now, there still is a need to find out the exact meaning and intention of President Trump's remarks. However, as long as serious discussions are held between North Korea and the United States on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of peace, we believe we need to consider various ways to further move forward such dialogue," Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, told reporters.

Following his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday, the U.S. president said he will stop the war games with South Korea "as long as we (the North and the U.S.) are negotiating in good faith."

A Cheong Wa Dae official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was still not clear what Trump meant by "war games."

Seoul and Washington have long insisted their joint military drills are strictly defensive.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for an all-member meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday to discuss such issues, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

"Tomorrow's meeting is aimed at evaluating the outcome of the North Korea-U.S. summit held yesterday in Singapore and discuss follow-up measures to implement the agreement reached at the summit," Kim said.


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