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US to End Annual Spring Joint Drills With South Korea – Reports

© AP Photo / Lee Jin-manSouth Korean Marines run after they landed on the beach during the U.S.-South Korea joint landing military exercises as a part of the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pohang, south of Seoul, South Korea. (File)
South Korean Marines run after they landed on the beach during the U.S.-South Korea joint landing military exercises as a part of the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pohang, south of Seoul, South Korea. (File) - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US military is planning to announce the end of large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea that are held each spring, media reports said on Friday.

The annual exercises will be curtailed as part of the Trump administration's efforts to reduce tensions with North Korea, NBC News reported, citing two unidentified defense officials.

Word of the planned announcement come less than 48 hours after a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without an agreement.

READ MORE: US, South Korea 2019 Foal Eagle Exercises Scaled Back For ‘Diplomacy' — Mattis

The exercises — known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle — will be replaced with smaller, mission-specific training, the report said.

In past years, North Korea has called the drills a practice run for a US-led invasion of the North.

U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrives for an annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and U.S, at the port of Busan, South Korea, March 15, 2017. - Sputnik International
US Carrier Strike Group Arrives in S Korea to Join Foal Eagle Exercises - Navy
Following his first summit with Kim in Singapore last June, Trump suspended the annual exercise, and Friday's report indicated that the US is preparing to make the suspension permanent.

Washington and Seoul held regularly joint military exercises, which were being perceived by Pyongyang as acts of aggression against the country. Russia and China have repeatedly condemned the United States for holding such drills and urged all the sides involved to refrain from provocations that could further escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

READ MORE: North Korea Threatens to Revive Nuke Program Over US Sanctions

However, the long-standing tensions on the Korean Peninsula reportedly started to ease after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearizing and held historic summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump.

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