US & South Korea to start massive joint military drills on April 1

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USA and South Korean ships participate in Foal Eagle, an annual military exercise, on March 22, 2017.

The Pentagon has announced that the annual military drills between the United States and South Korea will start from April 1, the media reported on Tuesday.

The annual springtime drills between the United States and South Korea include two specific exercises: Foal Eagle and Key Resolve.

The exercises, code-named Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, will involve some 23,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Korean troops.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his South Korean counterpart, Song Young-moo, agreed to resume the annual exercises "at a scale similar to that of previous years", according to a brief statement.

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Furthermore, the USA military noted that the North Koreans were notified about the drills by the United Nations Command.

In past years, the military drills have been a flashpoint for tensions on the divided peninsula because they always infuriate Pyongyang, which considers them a rehearsal for an invasion.

The Key Resolve command-post war game is created to help respond to the North's various threats, and the overall scale and program will be similar to those in previous years, he added.

North Korea strongly opposes the drills, but its leader Kim Jong Un reportedly softened his tone when he met a South Korean envoy earlier this month. Pyongyang has not made any direct comments on the issue.

They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.

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The US, as South Korea's security guarantor, has close to 30,000 troops stationed in the South - a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

According to the South Korean envoy who met with Kim in Pyongyang, the North Korean leader also offered to consider abandoning his nuclear weapons in exchange for USA security guarantees, and flagged a halt to all missile and nuclear tests while dialogue was under way.

The April summit will be the first meeting of leaders from the two Koreas in 11 years, while the summit with Trump will be the first in history where the top leaders of these two countries meet face-to-face.

"I think the North will show more sincerity in upcoming negotiations than before". If North Korea wants to engage in a meaningful dialogue, even the US and South Korea must show keenness on their part.

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