South Korea and the United States will begin preliminary military drills on Tuesday, the Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, despite North Korea’s warning that the exercises would dent signs of an inter-Korean thaw.
The drills, called Crisis Management Staff Training, were designed to examine the allies’ readiness to respond to a potential contingency, and will be held until Friday before switching to full-scale exercises scheduled for Aug. 16-26, Yonhap said, citing unidentified military and government sources.
South Korea’s defense ministry said the timing, scale and formation of the drills were not yet finalized. The US Forces Korea declined to comment, citing its policy.
South Korea and the United States regularly stage military exercises, mainly in the spring and summer, but North Korea has for decades reacted angrily, calling them a rehearsal for war.
Yonhap said the drills would consist mostly of computerized simulations with no live field training involving US-based troops, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior official of the ruling Workers’ Party, warned the South last week that holding the drills would undercut efforts to rebuild relations.
The two Koreas recently restored hotlines that Pyongyang severed a year ago, as Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seeking to mend strained ties and resume summits.
The North’s warning had prompted some Seoul officials and members of Moon’s ruling party to call for postponing the exercises to expedite inter-Korean reconciliation.
But ruling party chief Song Young-gil said on Thursday that the drills cannot be delayed, as they are regularly conducted for defensive purposes and preparations were “almost complete.”
The exercises had been scaled back in recent years to facilitate talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs in return for US sanctions relief.
But the negotiations collapsed following a failed second summit in 2019 between Kim and then US President Donald Trump.
Thousands evacuated as heavy rains cause flooding in North Korea: State TVMore than a thousand homes were damaged and about 5,000 people evacuated in North Korea after flooding caused by heavy rains, the country’s state ... World News
North Korea developing nuclear, missile programs in 2021: UNNorth Korea continued developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs during the first half of 2021 in violation of international sanctions and ... World News
S. Korea nurse suffers paralysis after AstraZeneca vaccine to be compensatedFor the first time in South Korea, a nursing assistant who suffered paralysis after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was recognized as a victim of an ... Coronavirus
North Korea wants sanctions eased to restart US talks: South Korea lawmakersNorth Korea wants international sanctions banning its metal exports and imports of refined fuel and other necessities lifted before it restarts ... World News