The annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military exercises between the United States and South Korea troops are regular affairs and have been overdue. These had been deferred because of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games in South Korea which recently came to a close. The exercises are now scheduled to begin in April.

ABC News reports that North Korea usually treats this as an excuse to pursue its provocative missile and nuclear tests. However, there could be a shift in the way this is viewed because of the proposed summit meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The military exercises

The main purpose of the annual joint military exercises between the United States and its ally South Korea is to ensure that both the sides are tuned to the same frequency. That will translate into efficient interaction in times of crisis. The Pentagon has confirmed resumption of the exercises is set for April 1, 2018, and the scale will be similar to those in the past. The decision has been conveyed to the Korean People's Army which is the official title of the army of North Korea.

The participation of South Korean troops in the Foal Eagle will be comparatively more than that of the United States. This part of the exercise is all about familiarizing with the sophisticated weapons and hands-on training. However, in the Key Resolve exercises, the number of personnel involved would be more or less equal on both sides because this will be a computer simulated headquarters exercise.

Strategic alliance

The United States has its warships positioned in the Korean peninsula and the annual military exercises with South Korea have been a regular activity for many years. It has always been a matter of dispute with North Korea who have, in the past, viewed it as preparation for an attack on their country.

Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, has said that these are, and have always been defense-oriented activities.

The proposed summit meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un has helped to ease tension, to a certain extent, in the region. This was made possible because Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, accepted the olive branch extended by Kim and convinced him to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

That broke the ice and hopes of normalizing relations between the two Koreas emerged and this could lead to peace. However, both Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are unpredictable leaders and the organizers of the meeting are handling it with kid gloves. The date for the meeting has not yet been announced.

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