US, SKorea to begin scaled-down drills amid virus spike

National and World News

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea will begin their annual joint military exercises this week. But a spreading coronavirus outbreak has apparently forced the allies to scale back an already low-key training program mainly involving computer-simulated war scenarios.

The drills could still irk North Korea, which portrays the allies’ combined training as invasion rehearsals and has threatened to abandon stalled nuclear talks.

The exercises also come at a delicate time after President Donald Trump openly complained about the costs of maintaining 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to protect against North Korean threats.

The allies have so far failed to sign a new cost-sharing agreement after the last one expired at the end of 2019. 

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