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S Korea, US kick start joint military drills; N Korea cautions


Tokyo,  South Korea and the United States on Monday started joint military drills despite warnings from North Korea to cancel the exercises, South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong Doo said. According to Kyodo News, the drills involve a computer-simulated command post exercise to deal with a potential emergency situation on the Korean Peninsula. No troops or weapons will be used during the drills. The scaled-back combined command post exercise, called 19-2 Dong Maeng, will be held through Aug 20 to test South Korea's capability to retake operational control over its forces from the United States during wartime. The United States and South Korea conduct a number of joint annual drills, including Key Resolve, Foal Eagle and Ulchi Freedom Guardian. Following the first US-North Korean talks regarding denuclearisation last year, Seoul and Washington halted the drills, which Pyongyang had viewed as preparation for war against North Korea. In recent weeks, North Korea tested several short-range missiles. Pyongyang said the launches were meant as a warning to the United States and South Korea against their joint military drills.

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