US-South Korea to conduct military drills; North Korea's reaction feared

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Mar 07, 2021, 09.36 AM(IST)

Representative | US military drill Photograph:( Reuters )

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While it is an annual exercise, experts believe it can infuriate North Korea, which considers these drills as rehearsals for invasion

South Korea and the US are all set to conduct their annual military training this week, but with the coronavirus pandemic still at large, the two countries have agreed on a few changes.

This nine-day exercise, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, will have smaller drills this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Seoul said on Sunday.

"The upcoming annual training is a computer-simulated command post exercise that is strictly defensive in nature," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

While it is an annual exercise, experts believe it can infuriate North Korea, which considers these drills as rehearsals for invasion.

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These drills are taking place for the first time since Joe Biden has taken over the White House as the President of the US. The timing of these drills is also important as Pyongyang and Washington are at a deadlock o the nuclear talks.

South Korea and the US conduct these annual military drills for "the maintenance of combat readiness posture and to support diplomatic efforts for denuclearisation and establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula," the statement read.

There are nearly 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and the drills happen every year, angering North Korea. However, former US President Donald Trump, after meeting Kim Jong-un during a summit between their countries, had guaranteed that the US would suspend the "very provocative" joint military exercise between the US and South Korea.

Later, during a meeting in Hanoi in February 2019 when the US gave up on trying to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. Some believe due to this, the annual military drills between the US and South Korea were not suspended. 

It is now being feared that North Korea may use this year's military drills to launch fresh provocation against the US, which would be the first for the Biden administration. 

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