Korean troops start drills amid N. Korea standoff

School students take part in an evacuation drill based on the scenario of a launch of North Korean missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam that would fly over their homes in the town of Kotoura
Korean troops start drills amid N. Korea standoff
Author

22 August, 2017

China has urged both Washington and Pyongyang to tone down the rhetoric and stop actions that inflame tensions, missile testing on North Korea's side and military exercises on the US and South Korean side.

South Korean army soldiers hold their weapons during an anti-terror exercise carried out as part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in 2010 What is the USA and South Korea Ulchi-Freedom Guardian 10-day military drill?

"The Trump group's declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against North Korea ... is a reckless behaviour driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war", the daily said.

The US Department of Defence announced on Sunday that its annual joint military exercise with South Korea would begin on Monday and continue through until the end of August.

Military leaders stress these defensive drills are needed to maintain operational readiness, but there are concerns that a show of force could again aggravate tensions in the region, after the US and North Korea recently came to the brink of conflict over a possible missile test targeting the Guam region. And, the tensions were ratcheted up further when President Donald Trump made threats of fire and fury to North Korea. During last year's exercises, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine and put its military on the highest alert. They could be reduced if North Korea were to pursue denuclearization and cease ballistic missile tests, he said.

Despite the growing tension between North Korea and USA, the annual military drills held in South Korea continues, which consistently infuriates Pyongyang despite its appeals to halt the exercise.

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The same exercises in 2016 provoked North Korea to conduct nuclear tests.

"North Korea should not exaggerate our efforts to keep peace nor should they engage in provocations that would worsen the situation, using (the exercise) as an excuse", he said. Kim's regime only wants the U.S.to cancel military drills that prepare for removing him from power and detonating nuclear weapons, Joel Wit, a former state department official, wrote in the Atlantic magazine on August 13.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have grown in recent weeks. "The U.S. has to be responsible for the ensuing disasters". In exchange for their suspension, China has suggested that North Korea should freeze its nuclear program.

The United States also describes them as "defensive in nature", a term North Korean state media has dismissed as a "deceptive mask".

News.com reported that some of the drills are believed to have included simulated "decapitation strikes" that target North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his top generals.


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