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Sunday, March 07, 2021, 10:57
S. Korea, US scale back military drill over coronavirus
By Reuters
Sunday, March 07, 2021, 10:57 By Reuters

 In this Sept 20, 2019 photo, US soldiers participate in a military tactical demonstration during "Air Power Day" preview at US Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)

SEOUL - South Korea  and the United States will conduct its springtime military exercise this week, but the joint drill will be smaller than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic, Seoul said on Sunday.

The allies will begin a nine day “computer-simulated command post exercise” on Monday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The drills will not include outdoor maneuvers, which have been carried out throughout the year, and the number of troops and equipment will be minimized due to the pandemic

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South Korea and the United States decided to move forward with the drills after “comprehensively taking into consideration the COVID-19 situation, the maintenance of the combat readiness posture, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of peace,” the JCS said, noting that the exercise is “defensive” in nature.

The drills will not include outdoor maneuvers, which have been carried out throughout the year, and the number of troops and equipment will be minimized due to the pandemic, Yonhap news agency reported.

The exercises also provide a chance to assess ROK’s readiness to take over wartime operational control (OPCON), and the series of scaled back drills could complicate President Moon Jae-in’s drive to complete the transfer before his term ends in 2022.

READ MORE: US returns 12 military sites to South Korea after yrs of haggling

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