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The secret of “shrinking version” Korean US military exercise? This is what experts say about North Korea’s attitude

Beijing, August 16 (Xinhua) every August, South Korea and the United States will hold summer joint military exercises. In the context of the global new crown epidemic, the South Korea US joint military exercise will shrink in 2020. However, this exercise may have a special feature: to assess whether the South Korean army has “complete combat capability” so as to “pave the way” for South Korea to regain its wartime operational command. The DPRK has always firmly opposed and condemned the South Korea US joint military exercises. Since the beginning of this year, the relations between the DPRK and the ROK and the DPRK us have been deteriorating. How will this military exercise affect the situation on the Korean Peninsula? The joint military exercises conducted by South Korea and the United States usually start spring joint military exercises in March of the year and summer joint exercises in August. However, due to the outbreak of new epidemic in South Korea at the end of February, the South Korean and US military announced that the postponement of the exercise originally scheduled for March was equivalent to cancellation. Therefore, the summer joint military exercise of the two countries has attracted special attention. Due to the fact that a large number of US soldiers could not go to South Korea during the epidemic period, the military exercise was postponed from the beginning of August to the middle of August, and the scale and form were adjusted accordingly. < / P > < p > exercise time – from August 16 to August 28, it is only carried out during the day, with a rest at night. The exercise usually lasts for 10 days, with an increase of 2-3 days. Objectively speaking, the cancellation of the spring military exercise is mainly due to the epidemic situation Yang Xiyu, a researcher at the China Institute of international studies, told chinanews.com that the reasons why the summer joint military exercise is still held are mainly institutional arrangements and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. < / P > < p > “this is a prescriptive and systematic exercise conducted by the ROK and the us to maintain the fighting state of the two armies. Without special reasons, it will not be cancelled in general.” “At the same time, the current situation on the Korean Peninsula makes South Korea and the United States believe that it is necessary to strengthen joint military exercises to maintain and enhance combat readiness,” Yang said Wang Sheng, a professor in the Department of international politics, School of administration, Jilin University and a visiting scholar at the Institute of Asian Studies of Korea University, believes that insisting on holding the routine military exercise is the continuous pressure of the United States on the DPRK and hopes that the DPRK can return to the negotiation table. < / P > < p > since the early 1950s, the command of the Korean army has been controlled by the US forces stationed in South Korea for a long time. In 1994, South Korea regained military command in peacetime, but not in wartime. In October 2014, the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone the handover time of wartime combat command from 2015 to 2020. Wen promised to receive wartime command during his term of office, when he ran for president in South Korea. < p > < p > South Korea’s plan to recover wartime operational command from the United States includes three stages of assessment. The first stage of assessment has been completed in 2019. Many people hope to complete the second stage assessment during the military exercise in August 2020 and the third stage assessment in 2021. In this way, South Korea is expected to recover its wartime operational command in 2022. < / P > < p > this exercise will focus on the assessment of whether the Korean army has “complete combat capability” in order to regain its wartime operational command. In the assessment, it will check whether the South Korean army has the ability to exercise operational command, the deployment of additional US forces in the event of an incident on the Korean Peninsula, and whether the South Korean army can rapidly deploy these forces to the theater. According to Wang Sheng’s analysis, South Korea hopes to recover its wartime command as soon as possible by improving its military capabilities. “South Korea may regard wartime command as an important factor in solving the Korean Peninsula issue. At the same time, South Korea also wants to improve its own diplomatic and military autonomy.” After South Korea regained its wartime command, “the South Korea US alliance may not be as close as before, and the role of South Korea in the Korean Peninsula issue can also be more obvious than before.” Yang Xiyu also said, “when the wartime operational command is fully returned to South Korea, the stability of military relations between the DPRK and the ROK will increase, and the risk of military conflict will also be reduced.” However, it is reported that the U.S. military takes a negative attitude towards the assessment work because it is difficult to deploy troops under the epidemic situation and the scale of the exercise has been reduced. In view of the fear that it will be difficult to complete the full combat capability assessment in 2020, the plan for South Korea to take back wartime operational command may be postponed. In this regard, Yang Xiyu analyzed and said, “even if the United States is not willing to do so, it will not publicly say that it will not hand over or postpone it. But if the handover is affected by problems in the technology of the South Korean army itself and China’s political aspects, the United States may take this opportunity to comply with its own will. ” < / P > < p > “the South Korea US joint military exercise will bring the DPRK ROK relations to a deadlock and aggravate the war crisis on the Korean Peninsula.” A few days before the start of the military exercise, South Korean citizens had organized a rally in Busan to protest. However, according to the observation of China news network reporters, in previous years, before and after the South Korea US joint military exercise, the North Korean official media, the Korean Central News Agency, issued a public statement to denounce it. However, as of the day before the military exercise this year, the Korean Central News agency has not yet made a statement. Not only the military exercise, but also the analysis of South Korean media pointed out that since the end of June, the DPRK announced to retain its military action plan against the ROK, the DPRK has stopped all its condemnation of the ROK. Wang Sheng believes that North Korea has not yet condemned this military exercise, which may be related to the adjustment of the exercise scale and the weakening of the pertinence. On the other hand, North Korea may be “changing as the United States changes.”. Yang Xiyu pointed out that “the DPRK has no action at present, which does not mean that it does not take action. I am afraid it needs to be observed for a period of time, and maybe the DPRK will respond.” The situation on the Korean Peninsula has deteriorated since 2020. In early June, North Korea criticized “defectors” spreading anti North Korean leaflets from South Korea to North Korea, then cut off the North Korea South Korea contact line and bombed the North Korea liaison office. Will the ROK US joint military exercise aggravate the uncertainty of the situation on the peninsula? Wang Sheng pointed out that during the joint military exercise, if the South Korea and the United States do not make some radical actions to stimulate the DPRK, the exercise will not have a great impact and stimulation on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. But the key is for South Korea and the United States to control themselves. In his view, the South Korea US joint military exercise has not played a more positive role in the situation on the peninsula and in solving the North Korean nuclear issue. All parties in Northeast Asia should also do more and should not let the negative factors of the peninsula situation warm up or intensify. 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