US and South Korea are resuming joint military exercises next month

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The United States and South Korea have agreed to resume joint military drills early next month, the Pentagon said, a move that was expected despite U.
President Donald Trump`s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Seoul and Washington said in January they would delay the annual exercises, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, until after the Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea — helping to create conditions for a resumption of talks between South and North Korea, which sees the drills as a rehearsal for invasion.
The exercises are expected to begin on April 1, and will be on a "scale similar to that of the previous years," the U.
military said in a statement late on Monday.
"Our combined exercises are defense-oriented and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation," Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a separate statement.
The Pentagon said the North Korean military had been notified about the schedule for the drills by the United Nations Command.
Logan said the drills were expected to conclude toward the end of May.
Logan said the two joint drills, which include computer simulations and field exercises, would involve about 23,700 U.
troops and 300,000 South Korea forces.
He said they had been long planned and were not a response to any specific North Korean actions or the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
After the announcement of the postponement of the drills in January, Pyongyang agreed to hold the first official talks with Seoul in more than two years and to send athletes to the Winter Olympics, easing a standoff over North Korea`s development of nuclear weapons.
The intra-Korean talks led to a visit this month by a South Korean delegation to Pyongyang for a meeting with the North Korean leader.
The delegation said Kim committed to denuclearization and expressed eagerness to meet Trump as soon as possible, an offer the president quickly accepted.
South Korean official have said Kim is expected to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae in in April before meeting Trump before the end of May.

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