South Korea is considering scrapping a regular military exercise with U.S. forces next year to minimize the risk of an aggressive North Korean reaction during the Winter Olympics in the South, the Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.
North Korea denounces regular military exercises between South Korean and U.S. forces as preparations to invade it, and it has at times conducted missile tests or taken other aggressive action in response.
The Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25, with the Paralympics on March 8-18. The South's Yonhap news agency, citing an unidentified South Korean presidential office official, said the option of scrapping the exercise had been considered for "a very long time".
The Blue House presidential office said in a statement no decision has been made on the exercise. Officials at the defense ministry declined to comment.
The South Korean and U.S. militaries usually hold a military exercise in March and April called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, which involves about 17,000 U.S. troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.