Seoul, Washington begin military drills amid regional tension

Seoul, Apr 12 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States on Tuesday began preliminary military drills for their annual spring exercises at a time of growing tension on the Korean Peninsula, where it is expected that Pyonyang will soon carry out a new nuclear test.

The allies began their crisis management staff training exercise ahead of their Combined Command Post Training (CCPT), which will run to the end of the month, South Korean military sources told Yonhap news agency.

The crisis management exercise, led by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, involves simulations of pre-war crisis scenarios, while the CCPT is a computer simulation – which may or may not involve the deployment of military assets on the ground – based on the allies’ contingency plans in the event of war.

The CCPT was to have been held in March, but was postponed due to the South Korean presidential elections and the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country, and is scheduled to begin on Apr. 18 for about 10 days.

Analysts believe that this time around Seoul and Washington could consider holding ground exercises in order to send a message to Pyongyang, which has launched a record 12 projectile launches so far this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile in five years.

The maneuvers coincide with US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln entering the waters off the city of Ulsan, which is the first time that Washington has exerted muscle in this way since 2017, when it deployed three aircraft carriers in waters of the peninsula and where Pyongyang conducted as many ICBM tests.

The North Korean regime has been preparing a large-scale military parade to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of its founder on Apr. 15, in which it could display new weapons.

Satellites have also captured preparations to conduct what could be its first nuclear test in more than four years. EFE


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