Joint drills begin after delay for PyeongChang

The two joint drills would involve about 23,700 US troops and 300,000 South Korean forces

US-S.Korea joint drills begin

South Korea and the United States began on Sunday the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle that has been earlier postponed due to the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, media reported.

Seoul's defense ministry said the springtime Foal Eagle kicked off with 11,500 US troops and 300,000 South Korean soldiers taking part in the field training exercise, one of the largest military drills conducted annually in the world, SBS reported.

The computer-simulated Key Resolve is scheduled for two weeks starting in mid-April.

The two joint drills would involve about 23,700 U.S. troops and 300,000 South Korean forces.

A summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump is anticipated by the end of May amid global diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear program.

About 28,500 USA service members are based in South Korea, which technically remains at war with the North after their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The drill - which was delayed to avoid clashing with February's Winter Olympics in the South - is to be held for a month, about half the time it usually lasts.

Foal Eagle is due to last four weeks, half the duration of the drills a year ago.

Local military sources said the U.S. Navy has chose to deploy the USS Wasp and USS Bonhomme Richard, both amphibious assault ships, for the Ssangyong exercise, adding that F-35B Lightning II aircraft will travel aboard the USS Wasp.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have agreed to hold their first face-to-face discussion on April 27 on the South Korean side of Panmunjom, in what will be the first inter-Korean summit since 2007, the third of its kind between the two countries.

The North sees the drills as a rehearsal for an invasion.

Almost 12,000 USA troops and around 300,000 South Korean forces will take part.

The flurry of reconciliatory moves comes after the Pyeongchang Winter Games, which the North used to mount a charm offensive, sending athletes, cheerleaders and even leader Kim Jong Un's powerful sister as a delegate.

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