SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea and the United States have begun discussions to end joint military displays that have long angered North Korean leadership.
President Donald Trump surprised many with his announcement on Tuesday that the U.S. "will be stopping the war games" because the drills with South Korea were "expensive" and "provocative" to North Korea.
"In accordance with the guidelines, Korea-U.S. discussions have already begun," a senior South Korean official said on Friday. "Though nothing has been decided yet, we're going to announce a decision soon, in the near future, through close consultations between the South and the U.S."
The annual military maneuvers are viewed by most South Koreans and Americans as defensive in nature, more of a dress rehearsal for how to respond to aggression from North Korea. Leaders in Pyongyang, on the other hand, have denounced the drills as two allied nations preparing to invade the North.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday said it might be necessary to reconsider the military exercises at time when conversations among the three nations are underway.
But, Moon added, in his opening remarks at a National Security Meeting: "The unwavering Korea-U.S. cooperation and combined defense posture need to be maintained based on the ironclad Korea-U.S. alliance."
Moon also said he was "filled with deep emotion" over the successful meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un.