South Korea military drills to resume despite thaw with nuclear-armed North Korea

US-South Korea military drills to resume despite thaw with nuclear-armed North Korea

US-South Korea military drills to resume despite thaw with nuclear-armed North Korea

North Korea is pursuing nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

The exercises begin with Foal Eagle, a field training drill that will last about four weeks, compared with its typical two-month run.

"Our combined exercises are defence-oriented and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation", Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan said in a statement. Among key assets that joined were the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the USS Columbus nuclear-powered attack submarine and a B-1B strategic bomber.

"The UN Command has notified today the North Korean military on the schedule as well as the defensive nature of the annual exercises", Seoul's defense ministry spokeswoman told reporters.

South Korea is preparing to send 160 K-Pop stars to Kim Jong-un's rogue nation as relations between the countries continue to improve.

This year's drills will begin on April 1 and it is widely expected that they will be concluded before the end of the month, when Moon Jae-in, the South Korean leader, travels to the border village of Panmunjom to meet Mr Kim ahead of a possible summit between the United States and North Korean leaders.

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"Foal Eagle" is a series of field training exercises with approximately 11,500 United States service personnel taking part, together with 290,000 South Korean troops, while "Key Resolve" is a tabletop exercise using mainly computer-based simulations. North Korea considers the exercises an invasion rehearsal and often conducts weapons tests in protest.

"Our first task will be to instil the same awe in North Korean audiences as we do our South Korean ones, and make sure nothing is awkward".

That set off a flurry of diplomatic activity between the two Koreas; they each sent high-level delegations to meet the other's leaders, with promises for a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Soini, speaking in an interview with Finnish broadcaster MTV, said North Korea's nuclear programmes were not on the table at the talks that end on Wednesday.

The East Pyongyang Grand Theatre was the backdrop to a landmark performance by the New York Philharmonic in 2008, while the latter spot was a joint project between the North and South, named after Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung.

It had been widely expected that the U.S.

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