December 07, 2018 12:07
South Korea and the U.S. have decided to cancel the large-scale "Foal Eagle" joint military exercise scheduled for April of 2019.
Government sources here said U.S. troops will not take part and South Korean troops will train alone but reduce the size of its own contingent. Last year, around 10,000 U.S. and 290,000 South Korean soldiers took part in the drill.
Instead, the South Korean and U.S. military will hold computer-simulated or CPX exercises that do not involve actual troops and equipment.
One high-ranking military officer said, "We usually hold CPC drills when we stage the Key Resolve drills in March, so I don't know why we are holding two similar war games."
The officer warned that U.S. and South Korean military readiness could weaken if live-training exercises are canceled.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said last month that joint military drills with South Korea will be "reorganized a bit to keep it at a level that will not be harmful to diplomacy." But South Korean officers say the changes are more drastic than they expected.
But the decision was made because there are hopes of a second U.S.-North Korea summit early next year.
"Discussions are taking place between working-level officials in the U.S. and [South] Korea, and I will inform you when a decision is reached," Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo told reporters.
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