USFK officials say training exercise with S. Korea will go off on schedule
SEOUL — U.S. Forces Korea officials say a major training exercise with South Korea will run as scheduled, despite South Korean news reports claiming it might be scaled back because of the upcoming summit between South Korea and North Korea.
The news reports, citing anonymous South Korean and U.S. sources, claimed that the annual Ulchi Focus Lens exercise could be affected by the second-ever summit between North and South Korea.
The computer-driven UFL exercise is scheduled for Aug. 20-31, and the summit is to take place Aug. 28-30 in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang.
USFK spokesman David Oten said Friday there is no planned change to the exercise dates, times or participants.
A spokeswoman for South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun echoed Oten’s statement.
UFL uses computer-simulated scenarios to test the Combined Forces Command’s ability to respond to a crisis on the peninsula. This will be the 33rd year the countries have held the exercise, according to a Combined Forces Command news release.
Starting next year, the exercise will be called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an adjustment meant to reflect U.S. forces’ changing role on the peninsula, USFK officials have said.