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S. Korea: Joint U.S. drills to go ahead despite tensions

02-13-2014 15:26 BJT

South Korea says it will press ahead with an annual joint military drill with the U.S. later this month. It comes despite calls from the DPRK for the drills to be delayed, because they overlap with planned family reunions. South Korea's Defense Ministry has called on Pyongyang not to link military exercises with what it says are humanitarian issues.

Kim Min-seok, Spokesman of South Korea Defense Ministry, says, "The South Korean-US joint exercise is essential and very important for the defense of the Republic of Korea. Even though we notified the North on February the 9th about the exercise schedule, the plan for the exercise was confirmed several months ago. Troops are already preparing for action.... It's wrong to relate the defensive nature of a military drill to the reunions of families, which has a humanitarian objective."

South Korean Defense Ministry says two separate military drills, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, will be held between February 24th and April 18th. On Wednesday, Pyongyang called for drills to be delayed until after planned reunions of families separated by the Korean War, which are set to begin on February 20th. It's the first reunion event in more than three years. The DPRK cancelled planned reunions at the last minute in September, and is threatening to scrap this month’s event because of the upcoming drills.



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