South Korea and the U.S. Combined Forces Command kicked off their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise this Monday morning.
The computer-assisted simulation exercise, which runs until August 31st, is designed to train South Korean and American forces to "prepare for, prevent and prevail over" a full range of current and future threats to South Korea and the northeast Asian region.
All of the major units in the Combined Forces Command are taking part in the drill, which involves around 56-thousand South Korean and 30-thousand U.S. troops, with about 3-thousand military personnel joining from the U.S. and other Pacific regions.
This year's UFG drill will also help troops prepare for the U.S. transfer of wartime operational command to South Korea in 2015, and includes exercises against cyber warfare.
Meanwhile, North Korea has renewed its threats against the exercise.
On Sunday, Pyongyang denounced the two-week-long drill, claiming it is designed as a rehearsal for a preemptive attack on North Korea.
It said the military exercise targets the North Korean leadership and the regime's strategic strongholds.
The South Korean military has reportedly strengthened surveillance along the border, in case of a North Korean provocation during the exercise.
Kim Han-ul, Arirang News.