US And South Korea Begin Joint Military Exercise

02 April, 2018, 02:27 | Author: Stuart Potter
  • The two joint drills would involve about 23,700 US troops and 300,000 South Korean forces

South Korean and the United States began their delayed joint military training on Sunday, mobilizing more than 300,000 troops.

About 11,500 USA and 290,000 South Korean troops will participate in the annual field-training drill known as Foal Eagle, which began Sunday and is expected to last about a month, according to US and South Korean officials.

The two allies will also carry out the two-weeks Key Resolve maneuvers, an exercise including computer-based simulations from April 23 with the participation of 12,200 U.S. soldiers.

The Foal Eagle drill started the same day as a historic concert by South Korean pop stars in Pyongyang, which will be staged late Sunday as a peace gesture ahead of inter-Korea summit in March.

A Pentagon spokesman said in March that the two joint drills would involve about 23,700 United States troops and 300,000 South Korean forces.

Military officials in Seoul have said the scale of the exercises would not go beyond those seen in previous years.

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No USÂ aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines were expected to join the drills, Yonhap said, as both Seoul and Washington prepared for upcoming face-to-face meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

US President Donald Trump is expected to meet Kim before the end of May.

Local military sources said the U.S. Navy has made a decision to deploy the USS Wasp and USS Bonhomme Richard, both amphibious assault ships, for the Ssangyong exercise, adding that F-35B Lightning II aircraft will travel aboard the USS Wasp. But its leader Kim Jong Un reportedly softened his tone when he met South Korean envoys in March.

Pyongyang and Seoul are also scheduled on April 27 to hold a summit, their first in more than a decade.

Kim, who last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on his first overseas trip as leader, on Saturday met International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Pyongyang, thanking him for helping to bring about a "dramatic thawing" of tensions on the peninsula.

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