South Korea delays military drills
Move to create right mood for Korean summit but joint exercise with US to proceed.
The delay was announced three days after North Korea urged the US to cancel its war games with the South, scheduled for August 20-31, warning that the exercises would have a “catastrophic impact” on ongoing six-nation talks on the North’s nuclear disarmament.
North Korea routinely criticises the annual South Korea-US “Ulchi Focus Lens” drill as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North.
American and South Korean officials have repeatedly said the exercises, held since 1975, are purely defensive.
The joint military drill is largely a computer-simulated war game, involving about 10,000 US troops in South Korea and abroad, according to the US military.
About 28,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.