In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)
TOKYO — In recent years, thousands of U.S. and South Korean soldiers met face-to-face on a mock battlefield to prepare for a potential attack from North Korea.
Now, after President Donald Trump scrapped the biggest joint exercises, the bulk of the newly designed "Alliance" drill taking place through March 14 will involve senior officers sitting in front of computers for what's known as a "command post exercise." While the army won't provide exact figures, many soldiers who took part in previous years will be on the sidelines.
"It's like putting together a national baseball team by having professional players practice alone instead of together," said Kim Ki-ho, a former colonel in South Korea's army who oversaw military operation planning at the Combined Forces Command.
On August 20, 2018, Chinese fighters of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) landed at Shagol Air Base in Chelyabinsk, Russia. They were coming to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) anti-terrorist exercise “Peace Mission-2018” that was supposed to be famous for being the first joint exercise between India and Pakistan. However, the SCO exercise faded into obscurity almost immediately as that same day Russia announced sixteen snap exercises across the Central and Eastern Military Districts (including Chelyabinsk) as a prologue to Vostok 2018.