An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 24, 2019

South Korean Exercises being Revised Amid Peace Talks

By Sean Kimmons Army News Service

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- As diplomacy efforts work to denuclearize North Korea, military exercises in the south are continuing on a smaller scale to maintain readiness.

So far this year, U.S. and South Korean militaries have conducted over 100 exercises, said Gen. Robert Abrams, who oversees all American troops on the Korean peninsula.

"I want to be crystal clear about it: combined training and readiness haven't slowed down one bit," he said. "We are continuing to conduct very rigorous combined training at echelon."

At the Pyongyang summit in September, North and South Korean leaders signed a declaration to reduce military tensions. The agreement led to buffer zones along the border and the suspension of large-scale military exercises.

"This was a prudent action in support of diplomacy," Abrams said Wednesday at the Land Forces Pacific Symposium, hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

After halting the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises earlier this year, the general said training has been revised in terms of size, scope, volume and type.

Every mission essential task will still be trained on, he added, but with a lower profile.

"The result is the alliance decision to conclude our series legacy exercises and the alliance decision to develop new activities that are better suited to our current operational environment," he said.

Other signs from last year's agreement include disarming the Joint Security Area, where armed guards previously stood face-to-face along the demilitarized zone.

In early December, North and South Korean guards escorted each other through minefields on both sides of the DMZ to visually inspect 20 guard posts that were destroyed as part of the agreement.

Both nations now share video feeds from about 40 security cameras that keep an eye on the contested border.

"The JSA is completely unarmed today," Abrams said, adding this was "unthinkable" in the past.

The confidence-building measures have significantly lowered the temperature on the peninsula, the general said.

"How can you not be in favor of that? You have to be in favor of that, because it's a signal, a small picture of what the future can hold," he said.

He also dismissed the missile tests by North Korea this month as an act of aggression, saying that militaries always train on their capabilities.

"Recent activities on the peninsula by [North Korea] has not changed the palatable reduction in tension on the peninsula," he said, "and the door for diplomacy remains open."

Due to a turbulent history, thawing relations between the neighboring countries will require concessions and patience.

"We've been back and forth now since 1950," he said, "and it's going to take some time to build bridges, to build trust, confidence after nearly 65 years of mutual distrust and open hostility."

Abrams, who serves multiple roles as commander of United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, also addressed the opportunity for a South Korean leader to one day head the CFC.

The CFC, an integrated headquarters established in 1978, is responsible for planning the defense of South Korea.

In August, an assessment is expected to take place with a South Korean four-star general in charge of the CFC under the stress of simulated crisis and contingency, said Abrams, who will serve as the deputy.

Critical military capabilities belonging to South Korea will also be tested, which is one of the conditions-based requirements needed for a South Korean to lead the CFC.

Abrams and the chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to provide an update this fall to the U.S. defense secretary and South Korean defense minister.

"The future is bright and we're heading in the right direction," he said

Like Us
Follow Us



Australia Welcomes United Sates Marines Back to Darwin
US Marines have begun arriving in the Northern Territory for this year’s Marine Rotational Force – Darwin. They will conduct training activities to deepen interoperability and better position our forces to respond to contingencies in the region.
March 22, 2023 - Defence Australia -- United States Marines have arrived in the Northern Territory as part of the 12th rotation of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D).Over the next seven months, up to 2,500 Marines will conduct combined...

Logistics in Peacetime is Hard Enough; Now Add Water, Distance, and Being Shot At: USFJ DCOM
Brig. Gen. James Wellons, deputy commander of U.S. Forces Japan, participated in a panel at the Defense Security Equipment International conference in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, March 17. The panel, comprised of military officers from each service of Japan’s Self Defense Forces as well as senior officers from the British Army and Royal Australian Air Force, discussed the important role of logistics planning to national security strategy.
March 22, 2023 - TOKYO, Japan -- Brigadier General James B. Wellons, deputy commander, U.S. Forces Japan, participated on a panel at the Defense Security Equipment International conference in Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 17, 2023.The panel, comprised...

CTF 74 Visits U.S. Submarine in Australia
Royal Australian Navy Rear Adm. Matt Buckley, Head of Capability, Nuclear Powered Submarine Task Force and Rear Adm. Rick Seif, commander, Submarine Group 7 board the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) for a distinguished visitor cruise with Australian political leaders and diplomatic guests, March 15. Asheville conducted multiple tours for distinguished visitors during a routine visit to HMAS Stirling, Western Australia to enhance interoperability and communication, and strengthen relationships with the Royal Australian Navy.
March 21, 2023 - HMAS STIRLING, Australia -- Rear Adm. Rick Seif, commander, Submarine Group 7/Task Force (CTF) 74, visited Perth, Australia, to meet with the Sailors of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758)...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Presents Gen. Yamazaki with Legion of Merit
TOKYO (March 19, 2023) Gen. Kōji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, joins Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, at a ceremony presenting Yamazaki with the Legion of Merit in Tokyo. Yamazaki received the award for exceptionally meritorious service, where his professionalism, initiative and dedication to duty resulted in significant advancements in the United States-Japan mutual security partnership, expansions to the Self-Defense Forces contributions regionally and globally, updates to force posture and continuous bilateral information exchange. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith)
March 21, 2023 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, presented Gen. Kōji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, with the Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander, in Toyko on March 19,...

U.S. Coast Guard, Federated States of Micronesia National Police Conduct at-sea Engagements to Combat Illegal Fishing, Strengthen Skills
The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) makes a port call in Yap during a Federated States of Micronesia patrol on March 13, 2023. The Oliver Henry is the 40th 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter named for Oliver T. Henry, Jr., an enlisted African American Coast Guard member first to break the color barrier of a then-segregated Service and homeports in Guam.
March 21, 2023 - SANTA RITA, Guam -- The U.S. Coast Guard (USCGC) and Federated States of Micronesia National Police conducted a successful at-sea engagement to combat illegal fishing in Yap State on March 16, 2023.The crews of USCGC Oliver...