(LEAD) S. Korean, U.S. troops to hold new command-post training around August
(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 7th para; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean and U.S. troops plan to conduct a renamed command-post exercise (CPX) in August or September as part of the reorganization of their regular combined drills, a defense official here said Thursday.
The name of the Freedom Guardian (FG) will be changed to 19-2 Dong Maeng, according to the official. Dong Maeng means alliance in Korean.
The allies earlier decided to rename the Key Resolve spring command-post training to 19-1 Dong Maeng.
The Ministry of National Defense said earlier the FG will be staged as a "newly adjusted" CPX between the allies in the latter half of this year.
"It will be held in tandem with the review of initial operational capability (IOC) for the transition of wartime operational control," the ministry's spokesperson, Choi Hyun-soo, said at a press briefing.
Seoul is preparing to regain operational control of its troops from Washington.
The allies are moving to scale down their joint military practices in order to support diplomatic efforts for denuclearization and lasting peace.
They decided to conclude a large-scale Foal Eagle field training with a plan to conduct drills together led by battalions or smaller units when necessary.
Separately, a new civilian-military exercise will be born in late May as the summertime South Korea-U.S. Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) training will be scrapped.
The new Ulchi Taegeuk exercise is to take place from May 27-30, a combination of the Taegeuk command post practice and the Ulchi government-led drill on emergency situations.
Key Resolve, Foal Eagle and UFG were the allies' key annual defense drills aimed at maintaining their firm defense posture against North Korean military threats.
Pyongyang has long called for the abolishment of the drills, which it claims to be a rehearsal for an invasion and a source of regional tensions.
U.S. President Donald Trump has voiced his displeasure about the joint military maneuvers, citing massive costs and the communist nation's suspension of nuclear and missile testing.
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