Joint drills between Seoul and Washington to simulate North Korean attack – World
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean and U.S. forces began their largest-ever joint live-fire exercise on Thursday, simulating a “full-scale attack” by North Korea, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
About 2,500 South Korean and American soldiers participated in the five-day exercise, which began in Bocheon near the North Korean border, the ministry said. Several tanks, howitzers and fighter jets also took part in the exercise.
“The exercise demonstrated our military’s ability and readiness to resolutely respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, as well as a full-scale attack,” the ministry said in a press release.
Last week, North Korean state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had approved final preparations for the launch of the country’s first military spy satellite. The head of state said that this satellite is necessary to face the threats of America and South Korea.
Analysts believe the satellite will improve North Korea’s surveillance capabilities and allow it to more accurately hit targets in the event of a conflict.
According to the US monitoring group 38 North, recent images taken by commercial satellites show that the installation of a new launch pad at the North Korean satellite launch site is underway and that its activity has reached its peak. A “new state of emergency”, most likely to be prepared for launch.
U.S. and South Korean forces have conducted a variety of training exercises in recent months, including air and sea exercises involving U.S. B-1B bombers, as diplomatic efforts and hopes for Covid-19 containment have led to a reduction in the number of drills.
North Korea has condemned the drills, saying it is preparation for an invasion.
(Reporting by Soo-Hyang Choi in Seoul and Daewoong Kim in Bocheon; French version by Victor Goury-Lafont, Editing by Plantin Henault)