SEOUL - South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump have agreed not to conduct the joint war games between Seoul and Washington during the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympic Games slated to kick off in February, Moon"s office said Thursday.
Moon and Trump had a telephone conversation for about 30 minutes earlier in the day, discussing issues of mutual concern relating to the possible inter-Korean talks created by taking the opportunity for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to the Blue House, the presidential palace.
During the talks, the two presidents agreed not to carry out the springtime South Korea-US joint military exercises, codenamed "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle", during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The annual war games, which tended to kick off in mid-March and last by the end of April, could coincide with the 2018 Winter Olympics scheduled to run from Feb 9 to Feb 25 and the Winter Paralympic Games from March 9 to March 18.
President Moon said last month that he had proposed to the US side to postpone the joint war games to successfully host the winter sports event.
The agreement to delay the South Korea-US war games came amid rising signs of a thaw between the two Koreas, caused by the peace overture which Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People"s Republic of Korea (DPRK), made in his New Year"s Day address.
Kim said in his New Year speech that his country was willing to participate in the South Korea-hosted winter sports event and to talk with Seoul about the participation.
The following day, Seoul offered to Pyongyang holding a senior-level, inter-governmental dialogue on Jan 9 at the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom, which straddles the heavily guarded inter-Korean land border.
South Korea and the DPRK restored the inter-Korean hotline of direct dialogue in Panmunjom earlier in the day to discuss details on the proposed inter-Korean talks. The communications channel between the two Koreas had been cut off for the past two years.
During the phone dialogue, Moon said South Korea will closely cooperate with the United States while having inter-Korean talks, stressing that inter-Korean talks would certainly help create an atmosphere for dialogue between the DPRK and the United States to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon and Trump agreed to make best efforts to hold the PyeongChang Winter Olympics successfully and safely, while agreeing to let the militaries of the two allies to secure the safety during the Olympic period, according to the Blue House.
Trump expressed his hope that the inter-Korean dialogue would bring a good outcome, telling Moon that the United States supports President Moon 100 percent.
The US leader confirmed he would send a senior US delegation, including his family, to PyeongChang during the Winter Olympic period.