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ROK, US joint military drill announcement to be delayed after 2nd DPRK-US summit

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-08 16:01

Marines of the Republic of Korea (ROK) march during a military exercise as a part of the annual joint military training called Foal Eagle between the ROK and the US in Pohang, ROK, April 5, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - The announcement of schedule for the joint springtime military drill between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States would be delayed until after the upcoming second summit between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, Yonhap news agency said Friday.

An unidentified ROK government source was quoted by Yonhap as saying plans for the joint ROK-US military exercises in the first half of this year would be announced after the second DPRK-US summit.

The source, however, noted that there was no change yet in plans to conduct a theater-level command post exercise, previously called Key Resolve, from March 4.

The delayed announcement may have taken into account a possible negative effect on the ongoing working-level talks between Pyongyang and Washington ahead of the planned second summit between top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, Yonhap reported.

Kim and Trump agreed to have their second meeting in Vietnam on Feb 27-28. The first Kim-Trump summit was held in Singapore in June last year.

The combined forces of the ROK and the United States have annually staged springtime war games from March to April, including the Key Resolve command post exercise and the Foal Eagle field training drill.

The DPRK has denounced the war games as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion.

Seoul and Washington reportedly agreed to rename and downsize the war games given the DPRK's aversion to it.

The Key Resolve was reported to be renamed "19-1 Exercise," while the summertime Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) command post exercise was given a new name of "19-2 Exercise."

Seoul and Washington tentatively concluded to carry out the "19-1 Exercise" for two weeks from March 4. The Foal Eagle field training drill could be downsized to battalion-level maneuvers.

Depending on the outcome of the second Kim-Trump summit, the springtime war games could be delayed, Yonhap reported.

In 2018, the ROK and the United States postponed the UFG command post exercise and the wintertime Vigilant Ace air exercises.

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