The combined forces of South Korea and the United States on Monday began a week-long joint military drill, called Dong Maeng that was scaled back compared with the previous springtime war games, South Korean defense ministry said.
The exercise Dong Maeng, which means alliance in English, would last until March 12 except Saturday and Sunday. It replaced the Key Resolve command post exercise, a tabletop computer-simulated war game.
It was scaled down in length as the previous Key Resolve war game continued for two weeks. The size of troops mobilized to the Dong Maeng exercise was unknown, but it excluded a counterattack scenario exercise, only training a defense posture, according to local media reports.
Choi Hyun-soo, Seoul's defense ministry spokesperson, told a regular press briefing that there would be no problem with the allied defense posture through the newly-adopted command post exercise and a revised field training drill.
The Key Resolve drill used to be followed by a massive Foal Eagle field training exercise in the past. No announcement was made so far about the revised field training exercise.
According to local media reports, it was forecast to be replaced with a smaller-scale field training exercise involving battalions or companies.
South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) signed a comprehensive military agreement last year in which the two sides agreed to stop regiment-level field maneuvers within the 5-km area of the military demarcation line (MDL).
The military agreement was inked during the third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang last September.
The scaled-back South Korea-U.S. military drill came as U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo decided to adapt the springtime war games "to reduce tensions and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner."