SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean and U.S. militaries mentioned Friday they’ll go ahead with large-scale annual army drills later this month despite North Korea’s threats to take “unprecedently” robust motion in opposition to such coaching.
It’s doubtless that North Korea will reply to the upcoming South Korean-U.S. workouts with provocative missile exams and belligerent rhetoric as a result of it views them as an invasion rehearsal.
In a joint press convention, the South Korean and U.S. militaries mentioned they’ll conduct the Freedom Protect train, a computer-simulated command publish coaching, from March 13-23 to strengthen their protection and response capabilities.
They mentioned the coaching would give attention to North Korean aggression, classes realized from current conflicts and the altering safety setting.
“The Korea-U.S. alliance will put together for the FS (Freedom Protect) coaching whereas sustaining a agency readiness in opposition to potential provocations by the North Korean army,” mentioned Col. Lee Sung Jun, a spokesperson on the South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Workers.
Lee mentioned the allies would reply to doable North Korean provocations with “an awesome functionality.”
In the course of the workouts, the allies may even conduct numerous large-scale joint discipline coaching, referred to as Warrior Protect FTX, to enhance their operation execution capabilities, mentioned Col. Isaac L. Taylor, a spokesperson for the U.S. army. He mentioned the sector trainings will embody a mixed amphibious drill.
“The Warrior Protect FTX stands for the ROK-U.S. alliance’s functionality and determination to guarantee a mixed protection posture to defend the ROK,” Taylor mentioned, utilizing South Korea’s official identify, the Republic of Korea.
South Korea and the US have been increasing their army workouts within the face of evolving North Korean nuclear threats. Emboldened by its advancing nuclear arsenal, North Korea test-fired greater than 70 missiles final yr, probably the most ever for a single yr, and a number of other extra this yr. Most of the missiles examined nuclear-capable weapons designed to strike the U.S. mainland and South Korea.
North Korea has additionally threatened to use its nuclear weapons preemptively in potential conflicts with the US and South Korea. The U.S. army has warned the North that the usage of nuclear weapons “will consequence ultimately of that regime.”
In January, Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned the U.S. would additionally enhance its deployment of superior weapons akin to fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula.
Final month, North Korea’s Overseas Ministry warned the U.S. and South Korea would face “unprecedentedly persistent and robust counteractions” in the event that they perform their deliberate army drills this yr that the North regards as “preparations for an aggression battle.”
Later, Senior North Korean Overseas Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun mentioned that the one means to scale back army tensions on the Korean Peninsula is for the US to withdraw its plans to deploy strategic property in South Korea and halt joint drills with its Asian ally. He mentioned if the US continues its “hostile and provocative practices” in opposition to North Korea, that may be thought to be a declaration of battle in opposition to it.
North Korea has beforehand issued related rhetoric in occasions of animosities with the US and South Korea.