The U.S. Second Infantry Division recently hosted a tree planting ceremony at Camp Casey in South Korea, located near the inter-Korean border.
“It is my belief that this tree, like those that have come before it, shall symbolize the roots that bind us together, and to our past in an enduring way.” There was also a shooting competition to determine the best marksmen in the participating U.S. and South Korean divisions. The Camp Casey event illustrates how, so far,this year the US and South Korean militaries are downplaying the offensive component of the joint training exercises underway that involve thousands of troops.
“This is clearly in order to send a signal to North Korea that North Korea,I’m sorry, South Korea and the United States are not willing to escalate the situation any further.”In response to past North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests, the joint exercises had featured nuclear capable aircraft carriers and bombers to demonstrate the ability to respond with overwhelming force to a North Korean attack.But these military assets are not expected to participate this year.
As diplomatic progress continues for a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the end of April.And for the US-North Korea’s summit, US president Donald Trump this week confirmed his administration is in contact with Pyongyang and expects to meet with Kim in late May or early June.“I think there will be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully we’ll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea.”And the North Korean leader also this week publicly acknowledged the upcoming summits for the first time at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Brian Padden VOA News Seoul