South Korea and the US will continue joint exercises “Freedom Shield” and “Warrior Shield” from March 13 to 23.
South Korea and the United States will continue large-scale military exercises later this month, despite North Korea threatening “unprecedented” action against such exercises.
The South Korean and US militaries will conduct military exercises from March 13 to 23 to strengthen their combined defensive capabilities, the two armies said in a statement on Friday.
The exercises mark the longest edition of the exercises dubbed “Freedom Shield,” which South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency says will feature a “joint computer simulation command post exercise” conducted concurrently with a field training exercise dubbed “Warrior Shield.”
“Freedom Shield is designed to enhance the Alliance’s defense and response capabilities by focusing within the exercise scenario on issues such as the evolving security environment, North Korean aggression and lessons learned from recent wars and conflicts,” the joint statement said. . DRPK are the initials of North Korea’s official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Past joint military exercises have drawn sharp responses from North Korea, including missile launches and nuclear threats, and it is likely that Pyongyang will respond to Freedom Shield with provocative missile tests and bellicose rhetoric.
North Korea opposes such exercises, which it says are rehearsals for an invasion by the US and its allies in Seoul.
In upcoming exercises, the Allies will conduct a number of large-scale joint field training exercises during Warrior Shield designed to improve operations execution capabilities, said Colonel Isaac L Taylor, a spokesman for the US military. He said the field training will include a combined amphibious assault exercise.
Last month, North Korea’s foreign ministry warned the US and South Korea that they would face “unprecedentedly persistent and forceful countermeasures” if they conducted their planned military exercises this year.
Later, senior North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said that the only way to ease military tensions on the Korean peninsula was for the US to abandon its plans to deploy strategic assets in South Korea. , would withdraw and stop joint training with Seoul. He said that if the US continued its “hostile and provocative practices” against North Korea, Pyongyang would view such activities as a declaration of war.
North Korea has previously issued similar rhetoric at times of animosity with the US and South Korea, but tensions have risen in recent months after Pyongyang tested dozens of ballistic missiles launched last year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The exercises also come as North Korea appears to be facing food shortages.
In January, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US would also deploy more advanced weapons such as fighter jets and bombers to the Korean peninsula amid growing tension with North Korea.