Tuesday, March 20, 2018

South Korea, U.S. to resume joint military drills in April. No reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation

South Korea, U.S. to resume joint military drills in April
South Korea and the United States have decided to resume their joint military drills next month, while reassuring North Korea that the exercises will be "defense-oriented."

The South Korean military announced Tuesday that Seoul and Washington's defense ministers agreed to launch the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve drills on April 1, after they were postponed to avoid an overlap with the Pyeongchang Winter Games period.

Earlier this year, South Korean President Moon Jae-in asked to hold off the exercises until after the Olympics and Paralympics Games in a bid to defuse tensions with North Korea and convince it to participate in the sporting event.

The North has long called for the scrapping of the drills, deeming them a rehearsal for invasion.

However, ahead of Seoul and Washington's respective summits with North Korea, the two allied forces appeared more mindful of Pyongyang.

Seoul says the United Nations Command notified North Korea's Korean People's Army on the schedule as well as the defensive nature of the annual exercises.

Pentagon spokesman Christopher Logan also said in a statement that are defense-oriented and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation.

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