South Korea, U.S. announce additional joint military drills

South Korean and U.S. honour guard soldiers hold U.S. and the South Korea's national flags during a rehearsal for the welcoming ceremony of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: AP.  

South Korea and the United States on Tuesday announced an additional series of joint manoeuvres to emphasize military strength against North Korea. “These defensive, combined exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behaviour must stop,” South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae Young and U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in a statement.

South Korea blames the sinking of one of its warships in March on its communist northern neighbour. On Sunday the two countries are to kick off four—day joint naval and air drills in the Sea of Japan. About 20 warships, 200 plans and 8,000 troops are to participate. Further drills off South Korea’s east and west coasts are to follow, the Yonhap news agency said. The joint drill was “designed to enhance our interoperability and readiness, but are also a strong signal of deterrence to the North,” Mr. Gates told U.S. troops. The U.S.—led UN Command in South Korea notified North Korea of the drill earlier Tuesday, officials at the Defence Ministry in Seoul said.

The location of the drill was moved from the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan, apparently after concerns voiced by China, Yonhap said.

Mr. Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are scheduled to visit the Demilitarized Zone which separates North and South Korea on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 5:27:49 PM |

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