S Korea-US drill cut short by a month: Seoul defence ministry

  • S Korea-US drill cut short by a month: Seoul defence ministry

S Korea-US drill cut short by a month: Seoul defence ministry

Washington says the joint drills are not created to provoke Pyongyang. Further, the Defence chiefs of both South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to hold the annual "key resolve" and "Foal Eagle" drills that had been earlier postponed due to the Olympic event.

Seoul, Mar 20 A delayed joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States will be cut short by a month, a Seoul defence ministry spokesman said today, as the diplomatic thaw with North Korea intensifies.

South Korean officials said this year's exercises would, unlike previous years, not involve United States nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or bombers.

Earlier the all-weather allies US-North Korea used to conduct such exercises in late February which lasted for around two months. The agency notes that this year the maneuvers will be held despite the diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula.

The United Nations Command of USA informed the military of North Korea about the schedule of the drills while saying that it was a part of regular training and not defensive in nature.

"It seems that our military cares about (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un's feelings", Hong Ji-man, the party's spokesman, said in a written commentary. Pyongyang has not yet confirmed Kim's intention to meet the U.S. president. The exercises, code-named Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, will involve some 23,000 USA troops and more than 300,000 South Korean troops.

But the joint US-South Korea drills often infuriate North Korea, which often conducts weapons tests in protest.

Overall, almost 30,000 U.S. troops are permanently stationed in South Korea to defend it in the event of a North Korean attack. Foal Eagle will last for four weeks (one month less than in 2017) and Key Resolve for two weeks from mid-April. Both Koreas are technically still at war because the agreement ending the 1950-53 Korean War was an armistice rather than a comprehensive peace treaty. You can sign up to receive it directly here.