The Pentagon is permanently canceling the large-scale military exercises in South Korea usually held in the spring, U.S. officials said Friday, handing Pyongyang a long-sought concession only days after a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke up without a deal.
The timing of the decision raised questions about whether Trump was giving away a major piece of leverage over North Korea, which has long denounced the exercises as provocative, and failing to get anything in return.
“Why negotiate with the United States when it makes concessions for free?” Abraham Denmark, a former top Pentagon official during the Obama administration, wrote in a tweet. He said the decision to halt the maneuvers would have “major implications for readiness” of U.S. and South Korean forces.
Thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops had conducted the exercises, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle — annually for more than a decade. But last year, President Trump suspended several annual Korea exercises, citing the cost and the need to ease tensions with North Korea.
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