South Korea to resume joint military exercises with US
20:12, Feb 20, 2018
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Washington previously agreed to a request from Seoul to delay the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises - which always infuriate Pyongyang - until after the Pyeongchang Olympics and Paralympics in the South, to try to avoid tensions on the divided peninsula.
"The South Korean and the USA government together announced that the joint exercises have been postponed based on Olympic spirit", Song said at a meeting of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee.
"As you know, the USA and ROK agreed to deconflict the timing of the spring exercises - Key Resolve and Foal Eagle - in order to provide the best possible conditions for a successful Olympics and Paralympics", a USFK spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous told NK News.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have eased since a year ago resulting in inter-Korean talks and North Korea sending a high-level delegation led by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, and athletes to the Winter Olympics.
"We will execute the two major theater-level command post exercises and one theater-level field training exercise each year", Brooks said, referring to computer-simulated exercises Key Resolve (KR) and Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), and the Foal Eagle (FE) field training exercise.
American and South Korean commanders insist the war games, which are usually held in late February and early March, are defensive in nature.
"The [President Donald] Trump group's racket for resuming the war exercises is a wild act of ruthlessly trampling even a small sprout of peace that has been now seen on the Korean peninsula, and it is a provocative act of chilling the active efforts of [North Korea] and enthusiasm of the worldwide community to defuse tension and create a peaceful environment", read a release from North Korea's state-media wing the Korean Central News Agency.
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"Trump and his clique are racketeering to nip peace in the bud that started sprouting on the Korean peninsula", KCNA said in a commentary.
Moon has had to walk a fine line, balancing both his desire for improved North-South ties and demands from the U.S. - Seoul's top ally - that it adhere to the White House's policy of "maximum pressure".
It could help determine "whether the U.S.is willing to reduce tensions by following the example of South Korea", Hoogeveen said, while also making clear "whether North Korea is willing to refrain from nuclear and ballistic missile testing and to continue dialogue".
North Korea may make its Masikryong ski resort available for the Games, said Chang Ung, the country's representative on the International Olympic Committee.
Pyongyang says it needs its nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion by the US.
The North's response continued: "It is a provocative act of chilling the active efforts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and enthusiasm of the global community to defuse tension and create a peaceful environment". The country sent their leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, the games.
The peninsula teetered on the edge of conflict previous year as Donald Trump, US president, faced off with Kim Jong-un, North Korea's supreme leader, over the regime's testing of long-range ballistic missiles.
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