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Defense ministry says details of S. Korea-U.S. combined exercise yet to be finalized

Defense 11:04 February 15, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States have yet to work out the schedule and other details of a planned joint springtime exercise, the defense ministry said Monday.

The computer-simulated command post training is likely to kick off in mid-March, according to sources, but the ministry declined to confirm when it's going to happen, saying that discussions are still under way to finalize the plan.

"South Korea and the U.S. are closely coordinating how to stage the exercise in consideration of the COVID-19 situation," ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan said during a regular press briefing.

The two countries usually stage major combined exercises twice a year, in spring and summer, along with smaller-scale drills throughout the year.

But they "indefinitely" postponed the springtime program in 2020 in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic, and the summertime exercise was held in a scaled-back manner in August.

The upcoming combined exercise has drawn keen attention amid concern that North Korea could use it as a pretext for provocations in the early months of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Seoul has stressed that it is a regular exercise that is defensive in nature but Pyongyang has long denounced such drills as a rehearsal for invasion.

Defense ministry says details of S. Korea-U.S. combined exercise yet to be finalized - 1

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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