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S. Korea, US to launch annual joint military drills next week

Feb. 28, 2024 - 11:16 By Yonhap
F-35 fighter jets stand ready for a joint aerial drill with the United States at Cheongju Air Base, 112 kilometers south of Seoul, on Feb. 23 in this photo provided by the Air Force. (Yonhap)

South Korea and the United States plan to kick off major combined military drills next week, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday, as the allies seek to bolster joint readiness against evolving military threats from North Korea.

The annual Freedom Shield exercise is set to take place from Monday to March 14 to carry out the computer simulation-based command post exercise, field training and other maneuvers, the JCS said.

The exercise is aimed at strengthening the combined defense posture based on scenarios that reflect diverse security threats, including North Korea's nuclear operations, by leveraging land, sea, air, cyber and space assets, the JCS said in a release.

"There will be a variety of combined field training exercises in sea-land-air to increase interoperability and enhance the combined operation capabilities of the alliance," it said.

During the period, some member states of the United Nations Command will participate in the drills and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission will observe them.

The US-led multinational command was established in 1950 under a UN mandate to support South Korea against North Korea's aggression and the NNSC has been overseeing the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea has long denounced joint military drills between Seoul and Washington as rehearsals for invasion. (Yonhap)