South Korea and the United States will hold their largest-ever live-fire exercise in June to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the alliance, Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The militaries are wrapping up their joint Freedom Shield exercise on Thursday. Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, March 22 (UPI) -- The militaries of South Korea and the United States will hold their largest-ever live-fire exercise in June to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their alliance, Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
The joint drill will involve a "large number of high-tech forces, such as manned and unmanned complex systems, demonstrating the alliance's formidable firepower and mobility on an unprecedented scale," the ministry said in a press release sent to reporters.
"In the face of severe security situations such as North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats, South Korea and the United States are helping to realize 'peace through strength' through action based on strategic deterrence capabilities," the statement said.
The allies are scheduled to wrap up their 11-day Freedom Shield joint military exercise on Thursday, which Pyongyang has angrily denounced as preparation for an invasion.
North Korea has conducted several missile launches during the exercise, including a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile last week.
Over the weekend, the secretive regime held a drill to prepare for a nuclear counterattack, according to state-run media.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday that the U.S.-South Korea joint exercise "urgently requires the DPRK to bolster up its nuclear war deterrence exponentially."
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
In addition to the live-fire demonstration, South Korea is planning a series of events and forums to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance and the armistice that halted the 1950-1953 Korean War, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry is looking to hold its annual Armed Forces Day ceremony in September with the participation of U.S. Forces Korea in order to "demonstrate overwhelming deterrence against North Korea."
Seoul and Washington are also working to release a future defense vision for the bilateral alliance at their annual Security Consultative Meeting in October, the ministry said.
The high-profile firepower drill will be the first the allies have held since April 2017.