Annual joint military drill kicks off next week

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Annual joint military drill kicks off next week

Starting next week, South Korea and the United States will conduct an annual joint military exercise and North Korea was notified of the schedule.

According to the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, the two countries will carry out their joint military drill, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, from Aug. 19 to 30.

About 50,000 Korean troops and 30,000 American forces will participate.

The exercise comes at a delicate time. The two Koreas have agreed to meet Wednesday for a low-level discussion on the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and the North has a long history of using routine military exercises between the South and the United States as an excuse to break off talks.

The command said the schedule of the exercise and its nature were related to the North on Saturday through the Military Armistice Commission of the United Nations Command.

As the North refused to accept a direct telephone call, the message was announced using a loud speaker.

The North did not react to Saturday’s notification as of yesterday.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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