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S. Korea, U.S. to start joint military exercise in late April: source

All Headlines 10:10 January 05, 2018

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean and U.S. defense authorities have already set a schedule for this year's Key Resolve combined exercise, an informed source said Friday, a day after the allies' presidents confirmed a plan to wait until after the PyeongChang Olympic period to hold the massive military maneuver.

The two sides reached a tentative deal "months ago" to hold the command-post, simulation-oriented training in Korea from April 23-May 3, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

S. Korea, U.S. to start joint military exercise in late April: source0

"The deployment of participating troops will begin around April 18 under the current schedule," the source told Yonhap News Agency.

But South Korea and the United States are still in consultations on a timetable for the Foal Eagle field training, which involves a large number of troops, including U.S. service members based abroad, added the source.

Another source said Foal Eagle will be staged around its usual timing, although the exact schedule and scale depend on North Korea's attitude down the road.

In 2017, Key Resolve took place from March 13-24 and Foal Eagle from March 1-April 30, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers mobilized.

South Korea's Moon Jae-in administration has requested a delay in the annual exercise in a bid to help reduce tensions on the peninsula before and during the two-week Winter Olympics, which will kick off in PyeongChang on Feb. 9. The Paralympic Games are slated for March 9-18 in PyeongCheong, a mountainous town in the east of South Korea.

In a phone call with Moon on Thursday night, President Donald Trump affirmed that the allies will not hold any military exercise during the Olympic session, according to Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later said the decision is a "practical matter." Mattis added that adjusting the timeline of those drills is not unprecedented.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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