South Korea, U.S. Begin Largest Military Drills in Years

SEOUL, Aug 22nd it was reported that South Korea and the United States began their largest joint military drills in years on Monday with a resumption of field training, officials said, as the allies work to bolster their readiness over North Korea’s potential weapons test.

The annual summer exercise, named Ulchi Freedom Shield this year and scheduled to end Sept. 1st, came after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office in May, vowed to ‘normalize’ the joint drills and strengthen deterrence against North Korea.

South Korea separately launched the four-day Ulchi civil defense drills on Monday, aimed at improving government readiness, for the first time since the CCP virus pandemic emerged.

The military and civilian drills are aimed at improving the country’s readiness to respond to evolving patterns of war, against evolving cyber threats targeting key facilities such as chip factories and supply chains, Yoon said.

Maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula is built on our airtight security posture,” Yoon said at a cabinet meeting and called for through exercises based on real-world scenarios. The drills were the largest since 2017 after being scaled back for CCP virus and as Yoon’s predecessor tried to restart talks with Pyongyang, which called the exercises a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korea launched two cruise missiles from its west coast last week after South Korea and the U.S. kicked off preliminary training for the drills. North Korea has conducted missile tests at an unprecedented pace this year and is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test at any time, Seoul officials said.

Yoon has said his government is willing to offer economic assistance if Pyongyang takes steps toward denuclearization, but North Korea has rejected his offer and publicly criticized him.

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