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South Korea-US Joint Drills to Go on as Planned Despite North Korea's Warning - Reports

© AP Photo / South Korea Defense Ministry South Korean navy ship fires a missile during a drill in South Korea's East Sea
South Korean navy ship fires a missile during a drill in South Korea's East Sea - Sputnik International
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TOKYO (Sputnik) - The US and South Korea will proceed with their 19-2 Dong Maeng military exercise as scheduled despite North Korean media claiming that Pyongyang's recent ballistic missile launch was meant to warn Seoul against holding the drill, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unnamed source at the South Korean Presidential Office.

"It is known that nothing has changed", the presidential official said when asked about the possibility of reconsidering the planned drill, as cited by Yonhap News Agency.

The official added that the president's office would not issue any official statements in response to North Korean media reports.

On 25 July, North Korea fired two projectiles from an area close to its eastern coastal city of Wonsan. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff subsequently said that the launches were of two short-range missiles that flew around 267 miles at an altitude of 31 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan. On 26 July, North Korea’s state-run media reported that the launches were tests of a new tactical guided weapon and were observed by leader Kim Jong-un, who reportedly called upon Seoul to suspend its military buildup and exercises.

The United States and South Korea conduct a number of annual joint drills, including Key Resolve, Foal Eagle and Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG). Following the first US-North Korean denuclearization talks last year, Seoul and Washington halted the drills, which Pyongyang had viewed as preparation for war against North Korea.

The 19-2 Dong Maeng ("alliance" in English) joint exercise will happen in August and will be carried out in place of the UFG. The allies first launched the Dong Maeng drill in March instead of Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, which were scheduled for that time.

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