December 12, 2017 11:59
The U.S. is refusing to reschedule annual joint drills with Korea so they do not overlap with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The drills usually kick off in late February or early March, but the Paralympics do not end until March 18. Seoul asked for the drills to be rescheduled but Washington "is against it," a diplomatic source said Monday.
The drills, dubbed "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" last 50 to 60 days. They can be scheduled after the Olympics proper, which end on Feb. 25, but will almost certainly overlap with the Paralympics that follow it.
NHK reported the Korean government "wants to host the Olympics and Paralympics in a period of eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula."
But Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-chun denied the report. "The military doesn't know anything about Seoul-Washington negotiations on the timing of the drills," Roh said. "There's been no decision whatsoever."
But a diplomatic source in Seoul confirmed the story. Washington is reportedly mainly concerned about the drills clashing with other schedules.
"The U.S. is tied up with busy schedules with other Pacific Rim countries," the source added. "It isn't easy to reschedule the drills because the other ones will also have to be rescheduled accordingly."
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