South Korea says no decision yet over annual military exercise with U.S

SEOUL: South Korea's defense ministry said Monday that no decision had been made yet over the joint annual military exercise with the United States this summer. The combined forces of South Korea and the United States have annually staged the summertime command post drills around mid-August, which the Democratic People's Republic of Korea denounced as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

Boo said Seoul and Washington were in close consultations over the issue taking into account the overall situations, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the combined defence posture, the transfer of the wartime operational control, and the support for diplomatic efforts to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In a statement on Sunday night, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said that the joint military drills were "an undesirable prelude which beclouds the way ahead" in Pyongyang-Seoul relations. She said that the restoration of the inter-Korean communication lines should not be taken as anything more than just the "physical reconnection".

Regarding the restored inter-Korean communication hotlines, the spokesperson said it was a starting point to restore the long-severed inter-Korean relations and trust, noting that the government will gradually enhance relations with the DPRK to let the restored hotlines lead to the resumed inter-Korean dialogue.

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