The Pentagon announced Saturday that it would be ending large-scale springtime military drills with South Korea, just days after President Trump raised concerns over how “expensive” they were for the U.S.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan came to the decision to officially end drills planned for the spring in a call with South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo on Saturday.
A readout of the call from the Pentagon said that the pair reviewed Trump’s second summit in Hanoi with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Minister Jeong expressed his regrets that a complete agreement was not reached while also noting his hopes for the U.S. and the DPRK to continue further vigorous conversations based on the discussion results of the Summit.”
While both officials agreed to maintain close coordination between military activities, they ultimately decided to end the series of exercises.
“The secretary and minister reviewed and approved the Alliance decisions recommended by the Commander of U.S. Forces Korea and the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff on the combined exercise and training program. Following close coordination, both sides decided to conclude the KEY RESOLVE and FOAL EAGLE series of exercises.”
The move to end military drills reflects both countries’ desire to “reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization.”
The decision comes just days after Trump called on South Korea to increase financial support of the drills.
After his first summit with Kim in Singapore last June, Trump baffled many in South Korea by unilaterally announcing the suspension of major summertime military drills, calling them “very provocative” and “tremendously expensive.”
On Thursday Trump doubled down on this notion, telling reporters the drills are “very expensive.”
“I’m not saying it’s not necessary because on some levels it is, but on other levels it’s not. But it’s a very, very expensive thing and we do have to think about that, too,” Trump said. “And frankly, I was sort of the opinion that South Korea should help us with that. You know, we’re protecting South Korea. I think they should help us with that.”
The Pentagon’s announcement on Saturday suggests the two countries are still “cooperating” with one another and they plan to meet “one another in person in the near future.”
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.