US, South Korea downsize military drills due to coronavirus pandemic: Media
Iran Press TV
Wednesday, 12 August 2020 5:11 AM
South Korea and the United States are reportedly scaling back their joint military drills this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
South Korean media reported on Wednesday that US-based troops would not be mobilized for the drills this year.
The exercises, which usually begin in August, involve tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides, although they are largely focused on computerized simulations rather than live field training.
The war games will be held for almost two weeks starting Sunday.
The time span has, however, been extended by days to disperse participants and minimize night activities, said the South's Yonhap news agency.
South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman said the plans had not yet been finalized.
The US has reported some 65 cases of coronavirus infection among its troops, employees, and their families in South Korea since July. All were confirmed on arrival or while in two-week mandatory quarantines.
That has prompted concerns in South Korea, which hosts some 28,000 US troops.
Meanwhile, North Korea will be monitoring the annual drills, which it describes as "rehearsals for invasion."
US President Donald Trump has formerly questioned the value of the joint military exercises with South Korea and promised to end the drills during his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon had in March offered the White House options to reduce the US military presence in South Korea.
But the drills have continued.
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