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S. Korea seeks drills delay for Olympics

AFP-Jiji SEOUL (AFP-Jiji) — South Korean President Moon Jae In has proposed delaying major joint military exercises with the United States that always infuriate Pyongyang until after the Olympics, he said.

It was the first confirmation that Seoul is seeking to postpone the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills, which usually start in late February or early March and run until the end of April.

But South Korea will host the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang from February 9 to 25 next year, with the Paralympics scheduled to begin on March 9.

The host area is just 80 kilometers south of the tense border with nuclear-armed North Korea, and tensions tend to rise during the drills, which Pyongyang condemns as rehearsals for invasion.

Moon told U.S. television channel NBC that the two allies were considering postponing the exercises.

“I have made such a proposal to the U.S. and the U.S. is now reviewing it,” he said on his way to Pyeongchang to promote the Games.

“However, it will all depend upon how North Korea will behave.”

He also expressed hopes the Olympic Games will help ease tension running high over the North’s relentless nuclear and missile tests.

Games organizers and Seoul are both keen for the North to take part in what they have proclaimed as a “peace Olympics,” but the North’s participation in sporting events in the South has largely depended on the political and military situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang has so far given no indication whether it will send its athletes — two pairs figures skaters have qualified — to Pyeongchang.Speech

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