March 08, 2021 11:21
South Korea and the U.S. started a joint military exercise on Monday that mostly consists of computer simulations.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff here said that the drill will last until March 18. The command post exercise will have to be carried out without actually mobilizing much equipment and troops. The two countries have not conducted field training exercise since then-U.S. President Donald Trump suspended them in 2018.
In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un again demanded a halt to joint South Korea-U.S. drills, and the ruling party and government here are keen to oblige since they still seem to entertain hopes of rapprochement with the North. That means the two allies will downplay a counterattack drill simulating against any North Korean invasion.
U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams recently warned that the joint exercises should not degenerate into mere "computer games," and other U.S. officials have also complained that combat readiness is being weakened by the lack of field exercises.
Meanwhile, the two allies agreed not to test South Korea's ability to assume full wartime operational control of combined forces during the upcoming drill.
This more or less scotches President Moon Jae-in's hopes to fulfill his campaign promise to take over operational control before he leaves office in May 2022.
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