South Korea to resume joint military exercises with US

US Vice President Mike Pence | AP

US Vice President Mike Pence | AP

The US and South Korea had postponed the joint drills Foal Eagle and Key Resolve - normally carried out between late February and the beginning of March and which North Korea views as a rehearsal for invading its territory - to avoid coinciding with the Olympic and Paralympic Games happening in PyeongChang county until March 18.

Washington previously agreed to a request from Seoul to delay the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises - which always infuriate Pyongyang - until after the Pyeongchang Olympics and Paralympics in the South, to try to avoid tensions on the divided peninsula.

"We now intend to conduct them as planned - to include the scope and scale - as part of maintaining a foundation of military readiness", it said.

A ministry spokesperson told EFE the dates will be made public in the coming days.

A date for the start of delayed United States and South Korean military drills will be announced soon after the Paralympics end next month, Seoul's defense minister said Tuesday. -South Korea joint landing operation drill as Amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps throw smoke bombs in Pohang March 30, 2015.

South Korean marines participate in a U.S.

The paper said the USA has, in the past, made similar attempts to pour cold water on chances to improve inter-Korean ties, branding Washington a "villain that stirs tensions on the peninsula and hinders Korean unification".

North Korean media has, since the postponement of the drills, called for them to be suspended entirely, recently claiming that they can "can never be compatible" with inter-Korean dialogue and improved DPRK-ROK relations.

Tuesday's meeting also saw the unification minister rule out the possibility of returning 12 former restaurant worker defectors to the DPRK.

After a high-level delegation from the North attended the opening ceremony, Mr Kim invited Moon Jae-in, South Korea's leader, to Pyongyang for what would be the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

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