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S. Korea, U.S. to hold preliminary training this week ahead of main exercise

Defense 11:48 August 09, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will conduct a preliminary training this week in the run-up to next week's main summertime military exercise that North Korea has warned against staging, sources said Monday.

The four-day crisis management staff training will begin Tuesday, followed by the computer-simulated Combined Command Post Training scheduled for Aug. 16-26, according to the sources.

"The training is aimed at checking the response to unexpected crisis situations to return to peacetime before a war breaks out," an official said.

The two countries have decided to push ahead with the drills as planned, albeit in a scaled-back manner due to the pandemic, despite North Korea's warning the maneuvers will dampen the budding conciliatory mood between the two Koreas.

North Korea has long railed against such exercises, denouncing them as a rehearsal for invasion.

Whether and how to conduct the summertime exercise have drawn keen attention, particularly after Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said it could undermine efforts to improve inter-Korean ties following the restoration of the long-severed cross-border communication lines late last month.

"The upcoming exercise would involve a minimum level of troops, which will be even smaller than the springtime one, and no outdoor drills will take place," a government source earlier said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea has seen a drastic surge in confirmed cases across the nation since July, with the daily caseload reaching 1,492 on Monday.

The defense ministry has declined to confirm the size or dates of the exercise, saying that it is still discussing details with Washington.

This photo, taken on Aug. 5, 2021, shows military vehicles at U.S. military base Camp Casey in Dongducheon, 40 kilometers north of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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