US, RoK marines hold small-scale exercise ahead of DPRK talks

Monday, 2018-11-05 11:06:24
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A file photo shows a US - RoK joint military excercise. (Source: MilitaryTimes)
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About 500 United States and the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s marines began small-scale military drills on November 5, just days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to hold talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on denuclearization and plans for a second summit of their leaders.

The Korean Marine Exchange Program was among the training drills indefinitely suspended in June after US President Donald Trump met DPRK leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore and promised to end joint, US-RoK military exercises.

Although larger exercises were suspended, the two countries have continued small-scale drills, the RoK's Ministry of National Defense said on November 5, adding that the marines were holding a training round near the southern city of Pohang.

Pompeo, interviewed on broadcaster CBS's "Face the Nation," said on November 4 he would be in New York City at the end of this week to meet his DPRK’s counterpart, Kim Yong-chol.

"I expect we’ll make some real progress, including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place, where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization," he added.

In Washington last week, RoK's defence minister said the two countries would decide by December on major joint military exercises for 2019. Vigilant Ace, suspended this month, is one of several such exercises halted to encourage dialogue with Pyongyang, which has criticised joint US-RoK exercises in the past.