US-South Korea Joint Military Drills Kick Off After Delay

Sunday, April 1, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sun, 04/01/2018

The US and South Korea on Sunday kicked off their annual joint military exercises which had been postponed until after the Winter Olympics, South Korean Defense Ministry sources said. About 11,500 U.S. and 300,000 South Korean soldiers will take part in the drill that was originally set for March. The start of the drills comes around a week after Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing where he held his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The exercises, which both countries stress are defense in nature, take place as both Seoul and Washington prepare for separate summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid a sudden diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula.

According to Reuters, the “Foal Eagle” field exercise, which usually involves combined ground, air, naval and special operations troops, will continue for a month. The computer-simulated command-post “Key Resolve” exercise will get under way later in the month and last two weeks, which means they are going to overlap with a historic summit between North Korea’s leader Kim Jon-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

Furthermore, in a sign of deescalation of tensions, while both the South Korean Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense said last month that the exercises would be roughly the size of those in previous years, local media reported that the joint drills this year will be shorter than originally planned, and that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will not take part.

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