S. Korean, US Troops to Begin Major Drills Next Week

Thu Feb 29 2024
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SEOUL: South Korean and US troops will start their expanded annual military exercises next week in response to North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats, the two countries said on Wednesday.

The move will likely anger North Korea because it views its rivals’ joint training programs as a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korea in recent months, has increased animosities on the Korean Peninsula with strong rhetoric and continued missile tests.

Though it’s unlikely for North Korea to carry out full-fledged attacks against South Korea and the US, experts say the North could still stage limited provocations along the South Korean border.

The South Korea and US militaries on Wednesday, jointly announced that they will hold Freedom Shield exercise and a variety of separate field training programs from March 4 to 14.

A spokesperson for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Col. Lee Sung-Jun, told the media that the drills of both countries are designed to bolster their joint capabilities to stop North Korea from using its nuclear weapons.

He added the allies will hold 48 field exercises this spring, twice the number carried out last year.

Lee said the South Korean military is ready to punish North Korea strongly and to end its provocation, and will further enhance its firm readiness through the upcoming exercises.

A spokesperson for the US military, Col. Isaac L. Taylor, said the joint drills have been defensive in nature.

North Korea has increased its weapons testing activities since 2022 as part of its efforts to enhance its nuclear and missile arsenals.


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