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S. Korea, U.S. initiate annual springtime drill Updated: 2021-03-09 04:00:24 KST

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says the computer-simulated Combined Command Post Training which started Monday is to take place over nine weekdays until March 18th.
It's been drastically shortened compared to the previous springtime drills which normally run around-the-clock for around two weeks.
The training involves a "minimal level of troops" given the coronavirus situation and no outdoor drills will take place.

"There's limitations to assessing the military's full operational capability due to various factors such as COVID-19, the combined defense posture and the overall situation regarding the Korea peace process. This is why this training will include a run-though of theater operations led by a future Combined Forces Command under the leadership of a four-star Korean general."

The two allies are believed to have agreed to try to carry out the rest of the Full Operational Capability test, a prerequisite for the envisioned conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul during the summertime exercise in the second half of this year.
The North has long opposed the exercises denouncing them as rehearsals for invasion despite the South reiterating that they are defensive in nature.
North Korea has not yet responded to the latest drills but it's almost certain that it will and the tone used by Pyeongyang this time could serve as an important barometer for the Biden administration in how it'll deal with the North Korean denuclearization issue.
Up until now, North Korea had used the combined exercises as an excuse to conduct its own tests of ballistic missiles and weaponry.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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