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US Not Scaling Back Military Exercises With South Korea, Building Up Capability

© AFP 2021 / STAN HONDAThe South Korean flag (R) with a US flag. (File)
The South Korean flag (R) with a US flag. (File) - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is not reducing the extent of its military exercises with South Korea, but is building up its military capability, US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan said in a press conference on Monday.

"I don't think we're scaling back exercises, I think we're building up capability," Shanahan said when asked if he shares concerns that scaling back US-South Korean military exercises could hurt readiness.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump walk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Shanahan noted that he and his visiting South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo will talk about joint military exercises coming up in September as well as about lessons learned from the joint military exercises undertaken in March.

On March 2, the US Defence Department said the United States and South Korea had agreed to stop their Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint exercises after telephone talks between Shanahan and Jeong.

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However, South Korean media reported that Shanahan and Jeong had also agreed to maintain robust military readiness through new command post exercises.

On March 4, the nine-day joint command post drills named Dong Maeng (Alliance) began in place of the large-scale Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises that North Korea had repeatedly slammed as preparations for invasion.

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