US, South Korea begin low-key military drills amid diplomatic thaw | world news

Protesters stage a rally to denounce the annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States near the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea,  April 1.

The USA and South Korea kicked off a low-key joint army drill on Sunday as a diplomatic thaw over North Korea gathered tempo.

Stress on the flashpoint peninsula have confirmed indicators of easing in current months after the remoted, nuclear-armed North proposed summits with the South and their “imperialist enemy” the US.

The annual Foal Eagle drill — a sequence of area coaching workout routines involving some 11,500 American and 290,000 South Korean troops — started early Sunday, Seoul’s defence ministry spokesman mentioned.

The drill — which was delayed to keep away from clashing with February’s Winter Olympics within the South — might be held for a month in April, about half the time it often lasts.

This yr’s drills characteristic fewer strategic weapons like a nuclear-powered plane service, Seoul military mentioned earlier. The deployment of such highly effective weapons at previous drills has incessantly drawn an indignant response from the North.

The 2 allies are additionally set to stage the annual Key Resolve drill — a tabletop train utilizing primarily computer-based simulations — for the standard period of two weeks starting late April.

Pyongyang, which habitually slams the joint military drills between the South and the US as a rehearsal for invasion, has remained comparatively quiet on the problem in current weeks.

The Foal Eagle drill began the identical day as a historic live performance by South Korean pop stars in Pyongyang, which might be staged late immediately as a peace gesture forward of this month’s inter-Korea summit.

Eleven South Korean acts — together with widespread Okay-pop girlband Crimson Velvet — are set carry out within the North Korean capital — the primary such live performance for greater than a decade.

The flurry of reconciliatory strikes comes after the Pyeongchang Winter Video games, which the North used to mount a allure offensive, sending athletes, cheerleaders and even chief Kim Jong Un’s highly effective sister as a delegate.

Kim, who final week met with Chinese language chief Xi Jinping in Beijing on his first abroad journey as chief, additionally met Olympics chief Thomas Bach in Pyongyang yesterday, thanking him for serving to to convey a couple of “dramatic thawing” of tensions on the peninsula.

Kim is ready to carry a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 on the border truce village of Panmunjom — the third time ever that any leaders of the 2 rivals have met.

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