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Report: South Korea president may seek to modify military exercises

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Aug. 4 (UPI) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in could be seeking modifications to upcoming joint military exercises with the United States, according to a South Korean press report.

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Meanwhile, Seoul’s spy agency has raised concerns about potential North Korean provocations.

A presidential Blue House official told reporters Wednesday that the president ordered a “careful consultation” regarding the planned drills, local news service MoneyToday reported.

South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook said he was in discussions with local health authorities and U.S. officials to address COVID-19 concerns, the report said. On Tuesday, South Korean authorities confirmed two cases of the Delta Plus COVID-19 variant.

Seoul’s military authorities said Tuesday that the two militaries agreed to go ahead with Crisis Management Staff Training, scheduled to start Aug. 10 and end Aug. 13. A joint Combined Command Post Training is to take place from Aug. 16 to 26.

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The Blue House source said that the command post training is to be carried out using computer simulations, according to MoneyToday.

Concerns have been rising in the South that North Korea could elevate tensions again after restoring a military communication hotline.

Last week, North Korean state media reported that Kim expressed discomfort with the exercises.

“The hostile forces are strengthening their fanatical and relentless warfare exercises for aggression, and continue to systematically expand their ability to preempt our country and build armaments,” Kim said.

South Korea’s spy agency said Tuesday before Seoul’s National Assembly Intelligence Committee that a possibility exists of a “military provocation” if the joint exercises are held, News 1 reported.

Kim had said the exercises would be an “undesirable prelude,” according to KCNA on Sunday.

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