U.S., ROK to begin joint military drills Monday despite Pyongyang warnings
Updated 12:49, 05-Aug-2019

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States will stage joint military drills as scheduled despite warnings from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the ROK military authority said Sunday.

The drills will begin Monday with a computer-simulated command post exercise (CPX) on coping with any emergency on the Korean Peninsula, according to the authority, ROK news agency Yonhap reported.

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U.S.-ROK military exercises must end to salvage the peace process

The allies will then spend the remaining 10 days intensively verifying Seoul's capabilities for its envisioned retaking of wartime operational control (OPCON) of its troops from Washington.

The allies have scaled down the joint military drills and replaced the previous ones with new exercises called "Dong Maeng," following commitments made during the inter-Korean summit at the border village of Panmunjom in April 2018 and the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June last year.

A U.S. Navy ship participates in the Foal Eagle exercise off the coast of Pohang, ROK, April 9, 2017. /VCG Photo

A U.S. Navy ship participates in the Foal Eagle exercise off the coast of Pohang, ROK, April 9, 2017. /VCG Photo

Pyongyang warnings   

Analysts say the military activities by both sides could delay talks between the U.S. and the DPRK.

U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un held a historic meeting in Singapore last year, when Kim signed a vague pledge to work toward "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

A second summit in Hanoi in February broke up amid disagreement on sanctions relief and what the North might be willing to give up in return.

In June, Trump and Kim agreed to resume nuclear talks during their meeting in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, but that working-level dialogue has yet to begin.

And on Friday the DPRK carried out its third weapons test in the space of eight days, firing what it called a new "large caliber multiple launch guided rocket system."

The ROK's presidential office said it was highly likely to be "a new type of short-range ballistic missile."

Trump brushed off these tests, saying Kim will not want to "disappoint" him because he has "far too much to lose."

"He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!" he said.

(With input from AFP)