SEOUL, South Korea -- The United States and South Korea begin their 12th annual 'Team Spirit' joint military exercises at the end of next week in a $50 million six-week show of force, a U.S. military spokesman said today.
The military war games will begin Feb. 13 and end April 26 with the participation of 100,000 South Korean and 57,500 American troops, the spokesman said.
'The purpose will be to exercise deployment, reception and employment of Republic of (South) Korea-U.S. forces responding to possible contingencies in the Korean theater,' the spokesman said.
North Korea criticized the exercises as 'a northward war preparation' at a recent meeting of the Korean military armistice commission at the truce village of Panmunjom.
Pointing out North Korea conducts similar games each year, the U.N. Command invited the communists to observe this year's exercise. There was no official response from Pyongyang but the North Koreans laughed off the invitation.
U.S. servicemen stationed in South Korea, Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines and the continental United States will take part in the games that will cost $50 million, the spokesman said.
Team spirit military exercises began in 1971 when Washington withdrew one of its two army divisions in South Korea under the so-called Nixon doctrine.
U.S. participants in the 1982 games will include an army division headquarters element and an infantry brigade, a brigade headquarters and an infantry battalion task force.
The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet will send an amphibious task force, a carrier battle group and other surface action groups.
Numerous air force tactical fighter and strategic units from throughout the Pacific and the continental U.S. and tactical and strategic airlift provided by the military airlift command will also take part, the spokesman said.