South Korea begins military drills amid North Korea talk about nuclear test

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: South and North Korean sentry posts face each other as the South Korean flag flutters in this photo taken from the Unification Observation Deck, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju , Korea, October

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s military kicked off their annual Hoguk defense drills on Monday, designed to bolster its ability to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats in the coming years. amid simmering tension over the military activities of both sides.

The drills, scheduled to end on Saturday, are the latest in a series of military exercises by South Korea in recent weeks, including joint operations with the United States and Japan. Copy.

The latest field training comes as North Korea is conducting weapons tests at an unprecedented rate this year, firing a short-range ballistic missile and hundreds of shells near the inter-Korean border. heavily armed on Friday.

Pyongyang has reacted angrily to the joint military activities of South Korea and North Korea, calling it a provocation and threatening retaliatory measures. Seoul says its drills are routine and defensively oriented.

Joining some US forces, the ROK military will focus on maintaining readiness and improving the military’s ability to conduct joint operations during the Hoguk exercise, said Joint Chiefs of Staff. South Korean military said.

“The forces will conduct simulated real-world day and night maneuvers to counter North Korea’s nuclear, missile, and other threats, so they can master North Korea’s capabilities wartime and peacetime missions, and enhanced interoperability with a number of U.S. forces. .

Last week, tensions flared up after North Korea fired a missile, fired more than 500 artillery shells and flew countless fighter jets near a conflict-prone maritime border.

Seoul condemned Pyongyang and imposed its first unilateral sanctions in nearly five years, describing the moves as a violation of a 2018 bilateral military treaty banning “hostile acts” in the border area. gender.

But the North accused the Confederate army of escalating tensions by firing their own artillery.

South Korean lawmakers said North Korea had completed preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017 and could conduct it amid China’s key ruling Communist Party Congress, which begins in Sunday and the November 7 US midterm elections. But some analysts do not expect any tests before the end of the Chinese congress.


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