South Korea military drills to resume despite thaw with nuclear-armed North Korea

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South Korea and the US are expected to launch the combined field training Foal Eagle exercise from April first for a month and the computer-simulated command post Key Resolve exercise from April 23rd for two weeks.

South Korean and US Marines aim their weapons near amphibious assault vehicles during the US-South Korea joint landing military exercises in Pohang, south of Seoul, South Korea, March 30, 2015.

It said the UN Command notified North Korea on Tuesday of the planned drills and explained that they are annual exercises of defensive nature.

North Korea strongly opposes the drills, but its leader Kim Jong Un reportedly softened his tone when he met a South Korean envoy earlier this month.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to set the stage for that summit by meeting with Kim in April in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas.

"To avoid compromising exercise objectives, specifics regarding the exercise scenarios will not be discussed", Logan said, adding that the goal is to "enhance" the ability of the U.S.

But North Korea has angrily denounced the drills in the past.

USA and South Korean ships participate in Foal Eagle, an annual military exercise, on March 22, 2017.

The South Korean official said consultations were underway over whether USA strategic assets such as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or bombers would be deployed for the drills.

The tactical exercises that make up Foal Eagle will involve about 11,500 US forces and approximately 290,000 S. Korean military personnel. The exercises, he said, are not conducted in response to any North Korean provocations "or the current political situation on the peninsula".

After the postponement of the drills was announced in January, Pyongyang agreed to hold the first official talks with Seoul in more than two years and then sent athletes and officials to the Winter Olympics.

North Korea is pursuing nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

But that appeared to have changed in the lead up to Kim's offer to meet with Trump. Those announcements were made by the South Koreans, who have been orchestrating the diplomatic preparations and acting as the messenger between Washington and Pyongyang.

This year's exercises will be held on a similar scale but without key USA strategic assets such as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or bombers, Seoul officials said.

At a potentially pivotal moment of diplomacy with North Korea, the Pentagon said Monday that annual U.S.

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