South Korea: Preparations underway for joint exercises with US despite warnings from North Korea

South Korea: Preparations underway for joint exercises with US despite warnings from North Korea
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South Korea announced on Monday that joint exercises with the U.S. will proceed as scheduled despite warnings from North Korea, The Associated Press reported.

Choi Hyun-soo, spokeswoman of South Korea's Defense Ministry, told reporters that exercises will be focused on verifying Seoul’s capabilities for retaking operational control of its troops from the U.S., the news service noted.

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North Korea conducted two test firings of short-range missiles last week, a show of force that analysts say is linked to the joint exercises.

Pyongyang had said it would wait to see if the exercises actually take place to decide on the fate of its diplomacy with the United States and also whether to continue its unilateral suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, according to the AP.

North Korea has maintained that even low-level joint exercises violate agreements made between North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea bans leather coats after Kim starts new fashion trend Belarus and Russia must resolve the migrant crisis on their own North Korea's Kim makes first public appearance in month MORE and President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE.

Trump has repeatedly expressed confidence in his ability to reach a denuclearization deal with Kim, but has failed to reach an agreement at two summits between the leaders.

One earlier this year in Vietnam ended abruptly with no agreement reached.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have remained at a standstill.