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South Korea, U.S. to stage joint summertime drills

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TRUNEWS with RICK WILES South Korea and the U.S. have announced they will participate in a computer-simulated summertime drill in lieu of their annual live-fire joint exercise called Combined Command Post Training. Yonhap News Agency reports the exercise, which was supposed to begin Sunday, was pushed back to tomorrow after a critical South Korean Army officer tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday. American officials who typically participate are doing so remotely because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Traditionally, CCPT drills are conducted jointly by South Korea and U.S. Forces Korea every March and August. This year’s March drills were canceled due to the coronavirus plandemic. The CCPT drills are meant to test the capability of South Korean officials to take command – known as Operational Control or OPCON – of the combined forces. Under a current agreement with the U.S., South Korea aims to complete the full OPCON transfer by the end of President Moon Jae-in’s current term, which ends in May of 2022. So far, South Korea has completed one of the three tests required to complete the transfer. The second test was originally planned to take place during the upcoming CCPT this week. Because of the limited scope of the drill, however, that test is now being delayed. Meanwhile, in North Korea, the government is ordering its people to hand over all of their pet dogs in the face of a growing food shortage crisis and massive famine. Last month, Kim Jong-un declared owning a pet dog was a symbol of “capitalist decadence” and ordered that all of the dogs in Pyongyang be rounded up. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo quotes a North Korean source who said: “Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down. Some of the dogs are sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants.” Dog meat is most popular in the summer in North Korea, where it is believed to provide energy and stamina in hot and humid weather. In South Korea, while the fad is fading out, there are still upward of 1 million dogs raised on farms for the sole purpose of consuming their meat, which is considered a delicacy by those who eat it. Also last month, however, a UN report stated that up to 60 percent of North Korea’s 25.5 million people are facing a “widespread food shortage” that has worsened under international sanctions imposed as a result of its nuclear weapons program. Kim declared at a politburo meeting last week that North Korea will brave the crisis on its own, without outside support. Severe flooding this year has resulted in nearly 100,000 acres of farmland being inundated. Kim tapped into his own personal private grain reserves to feed the people of one village impacted by the flooding – a move most observers say was an “SOS signal” to China. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)


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