S. Korea-US joint drill to take place mid-Aug: Defense minister

Members of South Korean Naval Special Warfare Group take part in a military exercise in remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, South Korea, August 25, 2019. South Korean Navy/Yonhap via REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Jul 28, 2020, KBS. Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo says he expects South Korea and the U.S. to resume their joint military drill in mid-August, KBS World reported.

Jeong told the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee on Tuesday that discussions are under way to hold the exercise in the middle of next month, saying there are various challenges in arranging such an exercise amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the military will boost quarantine inspection of troops entering the country from the U.S., adding that once they arrive, they will be tested twice for COVID-19 and only those who test negative will be allowed to take part in the upcoming drill.

Concerns have emerged that the U.S. could slash the size of reinforcement troops or not be able to send troops at all for the joint military exercise with the coronavirus showing no signs of abating.

Some observers have expressed concerns that a possible downsizing of troop size could affect efforts to verify Seoul’s readiness to take wartime operational control during the upcoming drill. Jeong said close negotiations are underway to arrive at the best possible approach given the current circumstances.

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