SEOUL, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Now is the right time to halt the South Korea-U.S. war games as it can speed up efforts by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, a South Korean expert said Friday.
"Now is the right timing for the halt of the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises," said Moon Chung-in, professor emeritus of Yonsei University in Seoul, during a press conference with foreign correspondents here.
Chung, who serves as a special advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for security and foreign affairs, said this "good gesture" was expected to accelerate the DPRK's denuclearization efforts as U.S. President Donald Trump pushed to speed up the denuclearization process.
Following the historic summit with top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said in Singapore Tuesday that he would stop the U.S. war games with South Korea as it is inappropriate to stage such "provocative" military drills under the situations he and Kim reached a comprehensive deal.
Kim and Trump signed a joint statement, agreeing to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for the DPRK. The leaders also agreed to establish new relations between the two countries.
The South Korean expert saw Trump's comments as a meaning of delaying the South Korea-U.S. joint military drills as long as dialogue continues between Pyongyang and Washington.
He also viewed the halt as a reward to the DPRK's dismantlement of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where it carried out all of its six nuclear tests, the stop of the DPRK's provocations for the past seven months and the release of three Americans who had been held in the DPRK.
The presidential special advisor, who said his comments do not represent the South Korean government's official stance, said President Trump seemed to have an anticipation toward the DPRK showing a bolder act of the denuclearization in return for the suspension of the annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
Combined forces of South Korea and the United States have conducted their joint war games, which the DPRK has denounced as a rehearsal for northward invasion, twice a year in spring and fall, respectively.
While the three major South Korea-U.S. war games went on in recent years, key U.S. strategic military assets were mobilized to the Korean Peninsula, causing strong backlash from the DPRK side. The strategic assets include nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable submarine, stealth fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers.
Meanwhile, the presidential Blue House of South Korea said earlier in the day that whether to halt the South Korea-U.S. war games will be announced soon.
A senior Blue House official told local reporters on condition of anonymity that although nothing has been decided yet, whether to halt the South Korea-U.S. war games would be announced soon or in the near future through close consultations between Seoul and Washington.
The official said consultations were already launched between Seoul and Washington, noting that the South Korean side will consult with its U.S. counterpart on the issue according to President Moon Jae-in's stance.