[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
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.