South Korea Military Exercises To Resume Next Month

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha shakes hands with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in Brussels

US-South Korea military drills to resume despite thaw with nuclear-armed North Korea

A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of department rules, said there are no immediate plans to bring in American strategic assets such as aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines or supersonic B-1B bombers during this spring's training.

"It is good to have the discussion going on and take the use of this time frame that was opened between the South and North Korea before the (Winter) Olympics (last month)", Soini said. The North has often responded to the drills with its own military actions, and past year fired four ballistic missiles close to Japan. Calls for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons will feature prominently on the agenda, but artists are simply expected to focus on their performances.

The deal is the latest step in the detente that began after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said at the beginning of the year that he meant to improve ties with his Southern neighbours.

In a brief statement, the Pentagon said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his South Korean counterpart, Song Young-moo, agreed to go forward with the two sets of exercises, known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, "at a scale similar to" that of previous years.

"One U.S. delegation member contacted me last fall and suggested a tripartite meeting", Kim told YLE, adding that Helsinki was picked as the location after the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made a decision to visit Stockholm in neighbouring Sweden for several days of diplomatic talks.

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 "Foal Eagle and Key Resolve" drills would begin on April 1 for four weeks, both countries said in a statement.


"These are low-key drills".

But Seoul agreed in January that they would be postponed.

Still, the timing and size of the exercises is likely to be especially sensitive.

Washington watched closely for any reaction from Pyongyang to the announcement Tuesday that joint U.S. -South Korean alliance to defend South Korean territory.

A main sticking point in U.S.

Remarkably, when South Korea's national security adviser told reporters at the White House earlier this month that North Korea's leader had invited Trump to meet, that Kim "understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue".

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