China says N Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting Beijing

North Korea China

North Korea China

No exercises in the Pacific outside of the Korean peninsula will be affected, White said. The agreement provided few details on how the USA and North Korea will achieve these goals.

China and North Korea are officially allies, and Beijing provided planes and logistical support for Mr Kim to attend the Singapore summit last week.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera showed understanding for the move but stressed the need for the two countries to continue their other joint drills.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Kim in Dalian, China, on May 7-8, he prodded him to call on Washington to suspend military exercises with Seoul, according to Chinese diplomatic sources.

"I shouldn't be surprised", said one government official.

Spending data for previous military exercises in Korea and elsewhere, however, suggest that the cost of a single exercise would be in the low or perhaps tens of millions of dollars in a USA military budget this year of almost $700 billion US.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said there would be no changes to joint drill plans between the United States and Japan, both of which regularly practise to deter North Korea.

Without the guns in place, it's likely the US or South Korea would have staged an invasion in place at some point during the decades-long military standoff.

Two summits between Kim and Xi have seen the leaders reaffirm the countries' long-standing ties, as well as agree to continue high-level meetings.

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Kim was expected to begin a two-day visit to Beijing on Tuesday, China's official Xinhua News Agency said, the North Korean leader's third trip to the country since March.

Amid fears the summit would weaken the worldwide coalition against the North's nuclear programme, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed after the meeting that sanctions would remain in place until North Korea's complete denuclearisation.

About 28,500 USA troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean war, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the two Koreas technically still at war.

The ministry said however, . a decision regarding other annual joint military drills, . like the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises, . conducted in the spring every year, . hasn't been reached yet.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore, Trump said that pausing the drills would save the USA "a tremendous amount of money" and described them as "very provocative" - echoing North Korea's criticism that the exercises are a rehearsal for a US-led invasion.

While the US and South Korean governments have yet to make an official announcement about the suspension of the war games, speculation is rampant that they will soon announce halting the upcoming Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise slated for August. Posing for photos while shaking hands with Kim, US President said, "we will have a terrific relationship no doubt".

Although the allies describe them as defensive and meant to improve coordination, North Korea a year ago called them " reckless sabre-rattling" that risked sparking an accidental war. The Pentagon rarely uses the words "war game" for joint military drills and it is a phrase more often seen in North Korean state media.

Many North Korea security experts do not believe Kim will completely give up his nuclear weapons.

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