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A long-scheduled U.S. Forces Korea exercise to practice evacuating noncombatants was supposed to start Thursday and run through this weekend. But the annual Courageous Channel drill was cancelled earlier this week “to avoid the appearance that it was scheduled in response to the March sinking of a South Korean warship or the subsequent investigation,” USFK said in a statement Tuesday.
U.S. military officials said actual evacuations could be ordered due to natural disasters, rising tensions, political instability or the resumption of hostilities with the North. They said any evacuation would be ordered by the U.S. Embassy in South Korea and could range from a “voluntary departure” to a full-scale evacuation coordinated by the Department of Defense.
By Jon Rabiroff, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, May 22, 2010