S. Korea, U.S. kick off annual joint training exercises
South Korea and the U.S. have kicked off on Monday their annual 12-day joint training
The computer simulation aided joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill mobilizes roughly 50-thousand Koreans and 30-thousand U.S. troops.
The main purpose of the exercise is to maintain security on the Korean peninsula, while upholding joint defense capabilities between the two allies.
In this year's exercise, observers from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, which ensures the implementation of the Korean War Armistice agreement, along with seven countries in the United Nations Command will monitor the drills.
Along with this military exercise, Seoul has launched its annual four-day local emergency drill to measure the government's readiness for dealing with terrorist situations and military threats from the North.
Unlike other years in which North Korea has lashed out against the joint exercises, North Korea has so far kept mum on the issue, with experts saying it is due to recent progress on inter-Korean relations.
Pyongyang had conventionally condemned the joint training drills claiming they are a prelude to war, disregarding Seoul and Washington's argument that they are for defense purposes only.
The two Koreas remain technically at war after the Korean War ended with an armistice agreement.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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