South Korea has decided to suspend this year's annual Ulchi Exercise.
The decision to suspend the government mobilization exercise was announced at a joint press conference by South Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday morning, following a cabinet meeting earlier in the day.
"The government has decided to suspend its Ulchi Exercise planned for this year during Tuesday's cabinet meeting, considering the current security situation, including recent inter-Korean relations, as well as Seoul and Washington's joint decision to suspend the annual Freedom Guardian Exercise set for every August."
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The Ulchi Exercise had been held in conjunction with the U.S.-led Freedom Guardian Exercise, as a joint military drill since the two were integrated in the 1970s.
However, South Korea's annual command post exercise, the Taegeuk Exercise,which was originally scheduled for June, will take place in late October, along with the Hoguk defense drill, which is South Korea's annual field training exercise.
Defense minister Song Young-moo stressed that South Korean military will continue to hold training drills.
"The South Korean military will continue to conduct independent drills and training as planned in this year, and any decisions on joint military exercises with the U.S. will be made after close bilateral consultation."
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The government also announced that from next year, it will begin a new model of annual military exercises, dubbed the "Ulchi Taegeuk Exercise," encompassing a broader range of training drills based on the concept of comprehensive security, to better cope with threats like terrorism and large-scale disasters.
The government also said that it will maintain its utmost readiness for any national emergency.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.