US and South Korea to practice largest joint military drills amid North Korean threat 32202164

Defence & Security News - US, South Korea
 
US and South Korea to practice largest joint military drills amid North Korean threat
The United States and South Korea will reportedly practice preemptive military strikes to take out North Korean nuclear sites next month when they begin the largest joint exercises ever conducted by the two allied forces.
     
US and South Korea to practice largest joint military drills amid North Korean threat 640 001Past exercises: South Korean army K-9 self-propelled howitzers fire in a live fire drill during the annual exercise in Paju, South Korea. Photo: AP/Ahn Young-joon
     
In the wake of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, Washington and Seoul will focus in part on defending against attacks by weapons of mass destruction during this year’s annual joint exercises.

The US will deploy a combat aviation brigade to South Korea for the duration of the manoeuvres, as well as a mobile US Marine brigade.

The parallel Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises are scheduled to commence on March 7, with the field-training exercises that make up Foal Eagle lasting until April 30. The drills will involve 15,000 US troops, twice the number of previous years, and will serve to demonstrate Washington's firepower.

The US will deploy a combat aviation brigade to South Korea for the duration of the manoeuvres, as well as a mobile US Marine brigade, an aircraft carrier and its attendant fleet, a nuclear-powered submarine and aeriel tankers to refuel fighter aircraft.

South Korea will commit some 290,000 personnel, including special forces, more than double its usual deployment for the annual drills.

This year's amphibious manoeuvres - known as the Ssangyong exercises - will be larger and more elaborate than ever before, with 7,000 US troops practicing coming ashore aboard Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and from landing craft from the USS New Orleans.

In an additional shot across Pyongyang's bows, the drills will for the first time simulate scenarios in which the regime of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has collapsed.
 

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