More marine exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces in 2019

On 19 October, the South Korean Marine Corps announced that the USA and South Korea plan to increase the number of combined marine exercises in 2019 after their number was reduced this year as a sign of good will to favor denuclearization talks with North Korea.

More marine exercises involving US and South Korean forces in 2019
In 2019, South Korean and US forces will conduct more common marine exercises in the KMEP framework (Picture source: U.S. Marine Corps / LCpl. Steven Tran)

During a parliamentary audit at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters, the South Korean Marine Corp said both countries plan to hold 24 rounds of Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP) in 2019. The drills are designed to bolster defense of the South's northwestern border islands.

The KMEP was conducted 14 times in 2016 and 17 times in 2017. In 2018, the allies scaled down their initial plan to stage it 19 times to create a more peaceful climate supposed to ease the negotiations for the North's denuclearization and a lasting peace regime on the peninsula. The South Korean Marine Corps intends to involve attack helicopters, a type of war machine on which it plans to conduct preliminary research in view of acquisition. The survey will be carried on from late this year to the second quarter of 2019.