Col. Lee Sung-joon of South Korea, right, and U.S. Colonel Isaac Taylor announced on Friday that the allied forces will begin joint spring military exercises on March 13.Image source: Yonhap News Agency
SEOUL, March 3 (UPI) — The United States and South Korea are set to resume large-scale spring joint military exercises this month, to a scale not seen in five years, the two countries announced on Friday, in response to growing missile and nuclear threats. North Korea.
The Freedom Shield exercise, which will run from March 13 to 23, will include live combat exercises and computer-simulated command post exercises, the two militaries said at a joint news conference in Seoul.
“Freedom Shield aims to strengthen the alliance’s defenses by focusing on the changing security environment, North Korea’s aggression, and lessons learned from recent wars and conflicts in exercise scenarios,” said Colonel Isaac Taylor, spokesman for US Forces Korea. and responsiveness.” Joint press conference.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
The on-the-ground exercise will return to the size of Exercise Young Eagle, which was suspended in 2019 under South Korea’s former president, officials said Wen Zai-in, he led a diplomatic effort to push for inter-Korean reconciliation.
“During the exercise, we will also conduct a number of large-scale joint field training exercises that have returned to the scale of the ‘Eagle’,” Taylor said. “One of the exercises will include a joint amphibious exercise aimed at improving joint operations execution capabilities.”
Before Liberty Shield, the allies are also planning a four-day crisis management exercise.
North Korea has long denounced the joint U.S.-South Korea drills as preparations for an invasion and aggression. warning last month An “unprecedented sustained and intense counterattack” to the upcoming exercise.
Seoul and Washington have stepped up military cooperation in recent months amid a series of weapons tests and hostile rhetoric from North Korea.
Pyongyang launched a record number of ballistic missiles last year and has continued several tests in recent weeks, including last month’s launch of a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile that experts believe could reach the entire United States.
North Korea has also threatened to preemptively use nuclear weapons against South Korea and the United States.north korean leader Kim Jong Un recent call The country’s nuclear arsenal “is growing exponentially” and has ordered the mass production of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons designed for battlefield use.
last week, pyongyang test-fired four cruise missiles It called it a demonstration of a “lethal nuclear counterattack capability”.
Officials in Seoul and Washington assessed that North Korea had completed preparations for a nuclear test, its seventh full-scale test and its first since 2017.Allies conducted tabletop exercises last week to prepare for nuclear tests North Korea may launch nuclear attack.