Seoul, Aug 16 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States began annual joint military exercises Monday, despite the recent threat from North Korea to unleash a “major security crisis” if they’re carried out.
The defensive maneuvers, which will last nine days, are based on computerized simulations and not field exercises, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Troop numbers will be limited due to Covid-19 and the scale will thus be lower than that of other maneuvers in March.
North Korea accused the allies last week of “wasting” the opportunity for rapprochement by maintaining the exercises despite efforts to dialogue and again interrupted its direct communication with Seoul, which it had reactivated on Jul. 28 after cutting it a year ago.
Seoul and Washington regularly hold military exercises, mainly in spring and summer, exercises that Pyongyang has been protesting for decades, considering them a simulated invasion of its territory and a threat to its sovereignty.
The size of these exercises has been scaled down recently to facilitate stalled talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanction reliefs, but Pyongyang has been demanding that the exercises cease entirely.
The United States maintains about 28,500 soldiers in South Korea as a result of the Korean War (1950-1953), the civil conflict that divided the peninsula and ended with an armistice that has never been replaced by a peace treaty, technically keeping the territories at war. EFE