The United States on Friday announced an indefinite suspension of several military exercises in the Korean peninsula to comply with an agreement with North Korea. United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had met in an unprecedented summit in Singapore on June 12 to negotiate the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula”.

“To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary James Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said. “This includes suspending Freedom Guardian along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months.”

A statement by the United States Department of Defence said any future decisions will depend upon negotiations with North Korea.

At the June 12 summit in Singapore, Trump had announced the suspension of the “very provocative” and expensive regular military exercises the United States was scheduled to conduct with South Korea, Reuters reported. Before the summit, North Korea had threatened to back out of the summit if Washington continued conducting joint drills with Seoul.

Diplomatic negotiations

Tensions between the US and North Korea had escalated in 2017 after Pyongyang stepped up its efforts to boost its nuclear weapons programme. US President Trump had warned Kim Jong-un a number of times against it, and the two leaders had frequently traded ridicule, insults and threats.

In April, the North had announced its intention to denuclearise the Korean peninsula after the Panmunjom summit. Seoul and Pyongyant had also vowed to end the Korean War. On May 12, Pyongyang announced that it will dismantle its nuclear bomb test site between May 23 and 25 to comply with its commitment to stop such tests.

The Singapore summit was the first time that a North Korean leader met a sitting US president. Since the Korean War in the 1950s, the leaders of the two countries never met or even spoken on the phone, Reuters reported.