South Korea, US stage largest amphibious landing drills in five years
Pohang, South Korea, Mar 29 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States conducted amphibious assault drills on Wednesday for the first time in five years, exhibiting their nimble marines and war equipment in a high-spirited action as a warning to North Korea’s ostentatious military prowess.
The two military allies began the Ssangyong (double dragon in Korean) exercise earlier this month near Pohang on South Korea’s east coast.
The last time they held the amphibious landing drills was in 2018 before the South Korean government halted them for inter-Korean rapprochement.
On Wednesday, as the military forces set out, a group of South Koreans cheered them for the war games returning to the coast after a gap of five years.
After the Kim Jong-un regime carried out a record number of missile launches in 2022 and the allies carried out large-scale war drills, South Korea and the US have chosen this year to further increase deployments within their large spring maneuvers.
That includes restarting Ssangyong on a larger-than-ever scale as the Marines of the two countries showed the media Wednesday on Hwanjin beach, in the city of Pohang, 260 km southeast of Seoul.
First, it was the turn of the F-35 stealth fighters, which simulated a bombing raid on the coast – all in the blink of an eye.
Then Korean amphibious assault vehicles (KAAV), deployed from the Dokdo amphibious assault ship (14,300 tons), washed ashore in three waves, carrying dozens of marines.
Kevin Buss, the captain of the US Marine Corps, told EFE that Ssangyong was a biannual exercise that is “pure routine,” since it has not changed essentially in the last decade.
However, the exercises, which will last until April 3, involve 30 ships, 70 aircraft, and some 50 amphibious assault vehicles.
The scope of Ssangyong has grown in terms of participating units.
The allies deployed division-level landing forces, which is at least twice the deployment in previous ones.
In the case of a simulation in which the marines land in enemy territory, the concern that it can cause in Pyongyang is logical.
“The US imperialists and their puppets have launched a dangerous full-scale drill,” North Korean media clamored after the Ssangyong launch on March 20.
Pyongyang has other compelling reasons to protest since the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will be conducting exercises in South Korean waters all this week.
The Kim regime carried out almost a dozen weapons tests (including underwater UAV capable of causing radioactive tsunamis) since the spring maneuver season began in the south of the peninsula on Mar.13.
Consequently, the viscous cycle continues with no end in sight, while the risk of a disastrous mistake in the region rises in tandem. EFE