Korea, U.S. to Cancel Summer Drill over Coronavirus Fears

  • By Roh Suk-jo

    July 13, 2020 09:31

    Korea and the U.S. are likely to cancel a large-scale military exercise scheduled for mid-August as coronavirus infections spike to record levels in America.

    "We're discussing how to conduct [the drill] but haven't decided yet whether to downscale or postpone it," a government source here said.

    The two allies earlier canceled a joint drill slated for March amid fears of COVID-19, but the epidemic has not abated yet in Korea and some 70,000 new infections a day are found in the U.S., where over 3 million people have now tested positive.

    Sixteen U.S. soldiers tested positive on arrival last week alone. Normally, hundreds of troops have to fly in from the U.S. during joint drills, which would cause a big headache for health authorities.

    The two countries are also at loggerheads over the focus of the drills.

    The Korean military wants to take control because it was originally intended to test Korea’s readiness to take back full operational control of its troops for the first time since the Korean War. The handover date is set for 2022.

    But the U.S. Forces Korea thinks it is more important to test the war-readiness of the two militaries and wants to keep charge for now, according to sources.

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