United States and South Korea to Resume Joint Military Exercises

US & South Korea to start massive joint military drills on April 1

The exercises were postponed for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The exercises will be of a "scale similar to that of the previous years" and are meant "to improve our readiness against various North Korean threats", the official said.

It had been widely expected that the joint military drills would go ahead, despite new prospects for diplomacy.

North Korea's military had been notified of the "defensive nature" of the drills, the statement added.

The timing of the annual military exercises are particularly sensitive this year because of heightened tensions regarding North Korea's accelerated work on a nuclear-armed missile potentially capable of reaching the United States - followed, unexpectedly, by prospects for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.

North Korea declared in late November, after the successful launch of it's longest-range missile to date, that it had "realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force". "For China and North Korea, the major tests are how to keep the right balance between their divergences over the nuclear issue. and how to avoid the influence of South Korean, Japanese or Western media".

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North Korea strongly opposes the drills, but its leader Kim Jong Un reportedly softened his tone when he met a South Korean envoy earlier this month. Kim also offered to meet personally with President Donald Trump to discuss giving up his nuclear weapons on unspecified terms, and Trump quickly agreed.

For time being, it is better if South Korea and the United States withhold planned military drill and make North Korea comfortable to come forward and talk.

So, given the situation, the military exercise which the USA and South Korea are planning hold in the Korean peninsula next month can wait. Some have speculated that the maneuvers would be scaled back, but the Pentagon said they would be conducted at "the same scale, scope and duration" as in previous years.

Logan said the two joint drills, which include computer simulations and field exercises, would involve about 23,700 USA troops and 300,000 South Korea forces.

Kim may be waving an olive branch at South Korea and the USA, but his gaze is probably fixed on China.

Despite the North's denunciation of past drills, Chung said Kim understood that the allies must continue their "routine" joint military exercises. -South Korean alliance to defend South Korean territory. Seoul succeeded in mediating between North Korea and the U.S. It now desperately needs to mediate between Washington and Beijing so that the two superpowers share the same views when it comes to dismantling the North's nuclear weapons.

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