US, SKorea Begin Military Drills 03/04 06:28
South Korea and the United States began large annual military exercises
Monday to bolster their readiness against North Korean nuclear threats after
the North raised animosities with an extension of missile tests and belligerent
rhetoric earlier this year.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea and the United States began large
annual military exercises Monday to bolster their readiness against North
Korean nuclear threats after the North raised animosities with an extension of
missile tests and belligerent rhetoric earlier this year.
The South Korean and U.S. forces began a computer-simulated command post
training called the Freedom Shield exercise and a variety of field exercises
for an 11-day run, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
North Korea had no immediate response to the major annual drills it regards
as a rehearsal for invasion. The North has staged provocative weapons tests in
the past in reaction to its adversaries' joint drills.
South Korea's military said last week that it would conduct 48 field
exercises with the U.S. forces this spring, twice the number conducted last
year, and that they would involve live-firing, bombing, air assault and missile
Since early 2022, North Korea has conducted more than 100 rounds of missile
tests to modernize its arsenal as talks with the United States and South Korea
have been stalled for an extended period. In response, the United States and
South Korea have expanded their training exercises and increased the deployment
of powerful U.S military assets such as aircraft carriers and long-range
This year, North Korea carried out six rounds of missile tests and barrage
of artillery firing drills. Its leader Kim Jong Un also said North Korea would
scrap its long-standing goal of peaceful unification with South Korea and take
a more aggressive military posture along the disputed sea boundary with South
Korea. He also vowed to "annihilate" South Korea and the United States if
provoked, a threat that he had previously issued.
The North Korean steps raised worries that it might make provocations along
the tense Korean sea and land borders. But experts say the prospect for a
full-blown attack by North Korea is dim as the North knows its military is
outmatched by U.S. and South Korean forces.
North Korea's moves to raise tensions are likely related to upcoming
elections planned by its rivals: the U.S. presidential election in November and
South Korea's parliament election in April. North Korea believes an advanced
nuclear arsenal will increase its leverage in future diplomacy and it can win
concessions like the easing of international sanctions, experts say.