Joint Drills with U.S. to Be Downscaled Again This Year

Jay Yim, Jan. 22, 2020, 10:49 a.m.

This year's joint military drills with the U.S. scheduled for March and April will be downscaled just like last year, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

The two countries last year replaced the large-scale "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" exercises with just a computer-simulated command post exercise.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo briefed President Moon Jae-in on the plan on Tuesday.

He also announced plans, now rendered improbable by North Korea's ongoing radio silence, to implement an inter-Korean military agreement from September 2018.

It includes dismantling more guard posts within the demilitarized zone, facilitating joint use of the Han River estuary, and continuing to excavate remains of war dead in the DMZ.

North Korea has been increasingly hostile in recent months, not least by test-firing 13 short-range missiles and artillery projectiles that are clearly aimed at South Korea. But the government here seems determined to proceed on a course of "strategic patience" in the hope that it will one day bear fruit.

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