South Korea, US consider live-fire drills amid North Korean threats

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea and the United States are considering holding their first large-scale joint live-fire drill in six years in 2023 amid growing military threats by North Korea, the ministry said. Seoul Defense said on Thursday.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeon Ha-gyu said the drills were floated as South Korea and the United States discussed preparations for the alliance’s 70th anniversary next year.

“To mark that occasion, we are looking for various ways to demonstrate our military presence and the alliance’s overwhelming deterrent against North Korea,” Jeon said at a news conference. Regular.

“A coordinated demonstration of live fire could be one of the options.”

The drills will be another show of joint force resumed after a multi-year hiatus under the new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has pledged to strengthen the military’s capabilities and readiness. prepared to prevent North Korea’s weapons development.

On Tuesday, the United States sent F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to participate in joint drills with South Korea for the first time since 2018, hours after North Korea criticized both countries and vowed to conducted several missile tests.

In September, the allies held their first exercise with a US aircraft carrier since 2018.

Such drills were halted under Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who had prioritized fighting the North, which denounced them as a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) designed to strike the continental United States. Seoul and Washington officials say the country has also completed preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017.

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