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Pentagon reaffirms US commitment to allies 'ironclad'

U.S. troops at Tapa Army Base. Photo is illustrative.
U.S. troops at Tapa Army Base. Photo is illustrative. Source: Meelis Meilbaum/Virumaa Teataja/Scanpix

Following President Donald Trump's pledge in Singapore to halt military exercises in South Korea, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has reaffirmed that its commitments to allies are "ironclad."

The Pentagon also rejected claims that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was taken by surprise by Trump's announcement that joint U.S.-South Korean exercises would be halted, reported BBC and ERR's television news.

Speaking at a press conference following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump announced that in connection with talks with North Korea, Washington would be halting joint exercises with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces because they are very expensive and at the moment are too provocative.

Observers found that this decision is a great concession to North Korea, but noted that it was nonetheless not unprecedented, as Washington has made similar calls during previous talks as well. Rather, what attracted attention was the fact that this announcement seemed to come as a surprise to South Korea and the U.S. forces stationed there.

Approximately 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Both Seoul and Washington have always stressed that the joint exercises which concern Pyongyang are strictly defensive in nature.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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