Conflicts & War

South Korea, US end joint military exercises

Seoul, Sep 1 (EFE).- The militaries of South Korea and the United States on Thursday ended their summer joint military exercises, the first such drills to take place since 2018.

The allies on Thursday concluded the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercises, which had kicked off on Aug. 22, a South Korean defense ministry spokesperson confirmed to EFE.

The UFS included over a dozen field training events, apart from a computerized simulation of command post exercises and civil defense drills.

The maneuvers were divided in two parts: the first focusing on defending the South Korean capital region from an attack by North Korea and the second simulating a counter-attack.

The North Korean regime, which considers such drills rehearsals for a possible invasion, vigorously protested them as is the norm.

The South Korean government of newly-elected conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol had pledged to restart the exercises in response to Pyongyang approving a plan to modernize its weapons last year.

The summer drills had been cancelled in 2018 to foster dialog at a time when Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington were witnessing a brief period of rapprochement and negotiations.

However, the failure of the 2019 Hanoi summit on denuclearization and North Korea’s complete shutdown of its borders to contain the spread of Covid-19 – which continues – reopened the rift between the two sides.

As part of its weapons modernization program approved in January 2021, North Korea has carried out more than 20 missile launches this year and for months has been preparing for its seventh nuclear test – the first in five years – at the northern Punggye-ri launch site. EFE


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