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S. Korea's defense authorities silent on whether Seoul-Washington drills will take place as scheduled Updated: 2018-02-14 06:55:12 KST

With the prospects of an inter-Korean summit rising, South Korean authorities are silent on whether Seoul's joint military drills with the U.S. will take place as scheduled.
The drills -- Key Resolve and Foal Eagle -- which were to kick off in late February or early March were postponed until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics which, the two countries said, was to ensure the safety of the Games.

(Stand-up)
"South Korea's defense authorities were adamant that Seoul-Washington joint military drills would take place after the Olympics. But now they're being tight-lipped, not saying exactly when the drills will take place or even confirming that they will be held."

The general view was that the drills would take place in April.
But on Tuesday, when asked whether drill schedules could change in accordance with further engagement with Pyongyang, or whether the drills would even take place this year, the defense ministry spokesperson refused to give a clear-cut answer.

( : .)
"We will tell you at the appropriate time."

And this is why speculation is rising that the Seoul-Washington joint military drills could be further postponed or at least scaled down.
And fueling such speculation is a North Korean report that Pyongyang won't go ahead with provocations for the time being.
Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper published by North Koreans in Japan, reported it is reasonable to say Pyongyang won't conduct nuclear tests or missile launches as long as efforts to improve ties continue between the two Koreas.
The paper also stressed that Seoul-Washington joint military drills would only provoke North Korea to continue its weapons program.

The South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command says there's no change in the U.S. position on the drills.
Washington plans to hold the drills at the scheduled time, and on the originally planned scale.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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