The allies kicked off the Foal Eagle field training in Korea on April 1 with an announcement that it will last four weeks. They are also scheduled to start the Key Resolve simulation-based, command-post drill next Monday.
It's an open secret that the two sides plan to wrap up Foal Eagle, ostensibly before next Friday, when the South's President Moon Jae-in and the North's leader Kim Jong-un will meet at the border village of Panmunjom.
Defense sources said Foal Eagle will likely go on "unofficially" through May.
Another public concern is whether they will hold Key Resolve on the historic summit day while the leaders of the two Koreas discuss ways to bring a peace regime to the peninsula.
"South and North Korea plan to decide (the issue) through consultations in consideration of intended goals and achievements," Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff, said at a press briefing.
A defense source said later that JCS Chairman Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo has been discussing the issue with Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, with a joint crisis management exercise under way ahead of Key Resolve.
"They are expected to come to a conclusion next week on handling the issue flexibly if they regard the goal of the training attained to some extent," the source said.
There is also a possibility that the South will switch off anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts using loudspeakers along the Demilitarized Zone throughout the summit day.
If Key Resolve pauses for the summit, it is due to resume in the first week of May.
South Korea and the US have apparently played it low-key when it comes to the annual large-scale joint military drills, which Pyongyang has labeled as a rehearsal for invasion and a reason for its nuclear armament. (Yonhap)