The US and South Korea will bring back their annual military exercise aimed at defense from the North, reports say. The drill was suspended due to Donald Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un, and, later, because of the pandemic.
The allies will conduct a computer-simulated command-post drill in mid-March, South Korean media reported on Sunday.
The Korea Herald newspaper cited sources saying that a nine-day war game will simulate combat operations against Pyongyang. The event will be the first US-South Korean drill during Joe Biden’s administration.
The two countries are still in talks about the size and schedule of the exercise, and will meet to “finalize the decision,” reports said. The allies are reportedly mulling whether to conduct a test to determine whether Seoul is capable of retaking operational control of South Korean troops from the US during a war.
South Korea controls its armed forces in peacetime, but the US would take over during a conflict.
The annual US-South Korean springtime exercise was suspended last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The drills have been halted or downsized since 2018 to bolster the efforts by then-president Donald Trump to negotiate with Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has long protested against such drills, arguing that they are rehearsals for an invasion. Washington and Seoul insist the exercises are defensive in nature.