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Military: No decision on next year's alliance exercise

South Korea's military said Monday it's premature to talk publicly about the reported likelihood of postponing annual war games with the United States to avoid the overlap with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

The allies usually kick off the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises in late February or early March, which North Korea regards as a rehearsal for invasion and uses as a pretext for provocations.

A dilemma for South Korea is that the drills will likely coincide with the PyeongChang games to be held from Feb. 9-25 in the mountainous resort town of PyeongChang, 80 kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone. The Paralympics are slated for March 9-19 in the same location.

Marines of the US, left, and South Korea wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during a joint military exercise in March 2016 at Pohang, South Korea. (AP-Yonhap)
Marines of the US, left, and South Korea wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during a joint military exercise in March 2016 at Pohang, South Korea. (AP-Yonhap)

Some media reported that South Korea is in consultations with the US to adjust the schedule for the training.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff would neither confirm nor deny it.

"Nothing has been decided so far as you know," the JCS spokesman Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon said at a press briefing. "(I) am not aware of such a consultation (reported by media) itself."

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another JCS official said it's a "very sensitive issue" to be handled at the "government level." (Yonhap)

 

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