Dec. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. and South Korea military authorities are reviewing new names for annual joint exercises that strengthen defense capabilities and deter North Korea, according to a South Korean press report.
Local paper Seoul Shinmun reported Monday the drills known as Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian could be renamed, and that analysts say the change comes at a time when Seoul might be concerned about provoking the North.
South Korean military sources told the newspaper the changes mean Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian could be renamed Exercise 19-1 and 19-2, respectively.
The South Koreans initially proposed calling the exercises Taegeuk Exercise 19-1 and 19-2, but U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams did not take to the idea, according to Seoul Shinmun.
Taegeuk is a traditional Eastern symbol denoting balance and is most prominently displayed on the Korean national flag.
Key Resolve was formerly known as Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, Integration and was renamed in 2007. The name refers to the will to win all wars, a South Korean military source said. Key Resolve also takes place in combination with Foal Eagle, another jointly held drill.
Ulchi was the name of an ancient Korean war hero of the peninsula's Goryeo Dynasty, and UFG is a combination of two exercises, Focus Lens and Ulchi, that began in 1954 and 1968, respectively. The two exercises were integrated in 1976 and its latest name was adopted in 2008.
The changes come at a time when North and South Korea are planning a "mutual verification" of destroyed guard posts in the demilitarized zone.
News 1 reported Monday North Korea erected a "yellow flag" to mark the middle line between North and South, ahead of inspections of demolished guard posts on Wednesday.
North Korea reportedly destroyed 11 guard posts on Nov. 4.