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S. Korea wraps up drills to defend western border islands

June 2, 2023 - 14:16 By Yonhap
Troops engage in drills to defend western border islands on Baengnyeong Island on Wednesday (Marine Corps)

The South Korean military has concluded three-day drills for the defense of western border islands, the Marine Corps said Friday, amid tensions caused by North Korea's botched launch of a space rocket earlier this week.

The drills took place on the border islands in the Yellow Sea, including Baengnyeong Island, led by the North West Islands Defense Command and joined by troops from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

In the exercise that began Tuesday, the armed services mobilized a series of weapons systems, including AH–1S Cobra and AH–64E Apache attack helicopters and a naval landing ship as well as F–15K and KF–16 fighter jets.

The North's launch of the rocket on Wednesday added new urgency for the strengthening of such defense drills, as observers saw it as part of an effort to further enhance the regime's ballistic missile technology and build space-based reconnaissance capabilities in the long term.

The drills had not been held since 2017, amid COVID-19 restrictions and the previous administration's drive for inter-Korean reconciliation. (Yonhap)