Sunday, September 23, 2018 | ePaper
US, S Korea to go ahead with Olympic-delayed drills
The US and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills after the Paralympics, both of them confirmed Tuesday, despite the exercises always infuriating Pyongyang and the Olympics having driven a rapprochement on the peninsula.
Washington previously agreed to a request from Seoul to delay the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises-which usually begin in late February or early March-until after the Pyeongchang Games in the South, to try to avoid stoking tensions. The Olympics have since seen a charm offensive by Pyongyang, which dispatched athletes, cheerleaders and its leader's sister Kim Yo Jong to attend the Games. She passed on Kim Jong Un's invitation to the South's President Moon Jae-in to come to a summit in Pyongyang-which he did not immediately accept, saying the right conditions were needed first.
Analysts say the Games-driven bonhomie on the peninsula may not last long once the sporting festivals are over, particularly once Key Resolve, a command post drill, and the Foal Eagle theatre-level field exercise begin.
The start date will be announced by the two allies between the end of the Paralympics on March 18 and the beginning of April, Seoul's defence minister Song Young-moo was quoted as telling the National Assembly by a ministry spokesman. A US Forces Korea spokesman confirmed the position to AFP. "The date for the postponed exercises-Key Resolve and Foal Eagle-will be announced after the Paralympics," he said. "The exercises have been postponed, not scrapped."