A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet, bottom, lands at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. At a potentially pivotal moment of diplomacy with North Korea, the Pentagon said Monday that annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that had been postponed for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will begin April 1. (Hong Gi-won/Yonhap via AP)

Low-key US-S Korea military drills ahead of N Korea summits

March 20, 2018 - 3:44 am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Annual U.S.-South Korean military drills that infuriate North Korea will begin on April 1 but will likely be more low-key than past years ahead of highly anticipated summits among the countries' leaders.

This year's drills were postponed during the Pyeongchang Olympics, which saw rare cooperative steps between the Koreas after months of confrontation.

After post-Olympics talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean officials said Kim indicated he would accept the maneuvers. Kim also offered to meet personally with President Donald Trump, who quickly agreed to meet Kim by the end of May. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are to meet separately in late April.

The Pentagon and South Korea's Defense Ministry released statements Tuesday saying the exercises would be similar in scale to previous drills.

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