Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

South Korea, US joint military exercises: just the routine

South Korea, US joint military exercises: just the routine

South and North Korea held face-to-face talks Tuesday in the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone to discuss the upcoming trip.

Following this event, a ten-member delegation, led by South-Korean National Security advisor, Chung Eui-yong, visited North Korea's capital earlier this month, where the Supreme leader reportedly expressed his willingness to negotiate the country's denuclearization with Washington, explaining that North Korea had no reason to have nuclear weapons if the military threats against the country are removed and its security is assured. No details were given on specifics such as whether US strategic assets would be deployed.

This year's exercises, which had been postponed for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will come just weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump shocked both those inside and outside his administration on March 8, when he told visiting South Korean officials who had returned from talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang that he would be willing to accept the Kim's invitation to meet before the end of May.

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The U.S. and South Korea will resume joint military exercises next month, after delaying them for the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

This year's Foal Eagle field training exercises will involve about 11,500 United States forces and some 290,000 South Korean troops, said Logan, the Pentagon spokesman.

The annual military exercise involving USA and South Korean forces will be of a particular interest, as Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have accepted to hold talks, a "first" since the cease-fire of 1953. "We, as the European Union, stand ready to do our part in this process", she also said, adding that "We have a rare chance in the coming months to make peace prevail on the Korean Peninsula".

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The military drills are expected to continue April 1 with an exercise called Foal Eagle.

The singer and record producer Yoon Sang, who led South Korea's delegation at the talks on Tuesday, said: "While we're on the stage, I believe it will be hard to portray personal feelings towards denuclearisation". This 2016 exercise, however, was a "relatively rare simulation", because "military operations are usually focused on hitting the North Korean leadership in Pyongyang".

This followed a similar invitation from Kim to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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The United States and South Korea will go ahead with controversial annual joint military exercises next month, but for only half as long as usual, in a concession to North Korea and a tacit acknowledgement of the high-level talks being planned between the three countries.

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