[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

South Korea launches military drill with US

Annual drill simulating response to a nuclear attack goes ahead despite threats from Pyongyang.

Last updated: 18 Aug 2014 01:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Pyongyang recently warned of a 'merciless' pre-emptive strike if the drills take place [AP]

South Korea and the United States have launched an annual military drill despite condemnation by North Korea, according to Seoul's defence ministry. 

The beginning of the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" exercise, which will last until August 29, came as Pope Francis led a mass for inter-reconciliation in Seoul at the end of his five-day trip to South Korea.

Although largely played out on computers, the drill involves tens of thousands of South Korean and US soldiers and is aimed at testing combat readiness for a North Korean invasion.

According to the South Korean Defence Ministry, this year's drill will, for the first time, simulate the response to a nuclear attack threat, using a strategy of "tailored" deterrence developed last year at annual South Korea-US defence talks.

North Korea has repeatedly called for the exercise to be cancelled, and last week its military joint chiefs of staff threatened to "mercilessly open the strongest... pre-emptive strike" if it goes ahead.

South Korean officials said its military would be on a heightened state of alert during the exercise.

"If the North commits a provocative act, we would retaliate strongly", a high-ranking military official told journalists, reported AFP news agency.

196

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.