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South Korea set for divisive military drills

South Korea set for divisive military drills

The annual drill involves huge land, air and sea exercises, with tens of thousands of troops involved from both countries.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviews the plan for landing missiles near the US territory of Guam in this undated still photo taken from video provided by KRT.

The way in which the games are conducted and advertised will send an important signal to the North, said the U.S. military's newspaper Stars and Stripes in a piece published over the weekend.

The annual drills are viewed by Pyongyang as a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion, and it always meets them with threats of strong military counteraction.

In a commentary carried by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the North warned of an "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war" on the peninsula, which would entangle the USA mainland.

Tens of thousands of South Korean and United States troops are taking part in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills, a largely computer-simulated exercise that runs for two weeks in the South.

Continuing with its drumbeat of threats, Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the U.S. mainland can "dodge the merciless strike".

It warned the exercises would "be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula" and added: "If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else's doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever".

News.com reported that some of the drills are believed to have included simulated "decapitation strikes" that target North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his top generals.




China and Russian Federation earlier proposed a freeze on military exercises in exchange for a freeze on missile tests.

North Korean news agency KCNA warned Australia's allegiance to the U.S. and its decision to take part in a military drill in South Korea would come at a cost. There will be no field training during the exercise, according to US Forces Korea.

"If anything, the joint exercises must be strengthened", Cheon Seongwhun, who served as a national security adviser to former conservative South Korean President Park Geun-hye, said in an interview.

The sanctions were imposed after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. It is understood they were capable of hitting Alaska, but not yet the USA mainland.

But its proposal for North Korea to suspend its arms programmes in return for the United States to halt military drills in the region has been ignored.

US President Donald Trump responded with a warning of unprecedented "fire and fury".

South Korean army soldiers hold their weapons during an anti-terror exercise carried out as part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in 2010 What is the USA and South Korea Ulchi-Freedom Guardian 10-day military drill?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a longstanding anti-nuclear campaigner, last week demanded Britain pull out of military exercises with Britain's closest allies.

The spokesman added: 'Over the course of the exercise about thirty UK military and civilian personnel will participate in a variety of posts as part of United Nations Command.