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Unification ministry will keep close watch on N.K. response to joint exercise: official

All News 11:41 August 17, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will keep a close eye on how North Korea will respond to a major joint military exercise under way with the United States, the unification ministry said Tuesday, as Pyongyang remains silent in contrast to angry reactions to last week's preliminary exercise.

The nine-day computer-simulated Combined Command Post Training, which kicked off Monday, is based largely on a computer simulation with no field training, in consideration of the virus situation, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

"We believe it is necessary to keep a closer watch on North Korea's response and actions as the South Korea-U.S. military drills are ongoing. So, we will keep a further eye on the North," the official said.

Earlier this month, Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, released two statements, warning that the drills would dampen the conciliatory mood created in the wake of the restoration of the communication lines and vowing to strengthen the country's defense and preemptive strike capabilities.

Kim Yong-chol, head of the North's United Front Department, also slammed the allies for going ahead with their joint military exercise and warned that the North will make them feel a "serious security crisis" every minute.

North Korean state media, however, has kept mum on the joint drills since it kicked off Monday. Pyongyang has not yet released any additional statements.

North Korea has long denounced Seoul and Washington's military drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North. The allies say that the exercises are defensive in nature.

An image of South Korea-U.S. combined military drills (Yonhap)

An image of South Korea-U.S. combined military drills (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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