South Korea, US conduct joint military drills with 4,600 troops
Seoul, Jul 18 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States have been conducting joint military drills involving some 100 pieces of weaponry and equipment and 4,600 troops amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported Monday, citing army officials.
The 11-day exercise began on July 11 at the Korea Combat Training Center in Inje, 165 kilometers (103 miles) east of Seoul.
Some 4,300 South Korean troops from two infantry divisions are taking part in the exercises, which also involve 300 American troops from the armored division.
The militaries also mobilized 100 pieces of equipment for the drills, ranging from tanks to howitzers, attack helicopters to drones.
The Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System training system, which uses lasers and blank cartridges in battle simulations, is also being used in the maneuvers.
The ongoing exercises have coincided with joint maneuvers between South Korea and the US last week involving fifth-generation F-35A stealth fighters from both armies.
These displays of military might come at a time when the North Korean regime looks to be on the verge of carrying out a fresh nuclear test.
Seoul and Washington believe that Pyongyang has been preparing to carry out its first nuclear test since 2017, with all arrangements in place awaiting a launch order by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea, which has been completely cut off from the outside world due to the coronavirus pandemic since 2020, has ignored calls from South Korea and the US to resume stalled talks on denuclearization.
Last year, it approved a weapons modernization plan that is behind the record number of missile tests it has carried out this year (over 20) and preparations, captured in satellite images since February, for a new nuclear test. EFE