US and South Korean forces rehearse amphibious landing — RT World News
First such drills in five years come amid protests from North Korea and near-daily missile launches
The US and South Korean armies have embarked on a large-scale joint exercise aimed at practicing amphibious landings, South Korean media reported. The drills, part of the ongoing “Freedom Shield” maneuvers, continued despite repeated warnings from Pyongyang.
On Monday, South Korean TV channel KBS, citing the country’s military, reported that the “Ssangyong” drills had started on the east coast of North Gyeongsang province and are expected to end on April 3. a five-year hiatus, with entire divisions participating this time instead of just brigades.
The exercise includes more than 30 ships from both countries, 70 aircraft, including F-35B stealth fighters and AH-64 attack helicopters, as well as 50 amphibious assault vehicles.
Last week, the Yonhap news agency quoted South Korean military officials as saying that the “Ssangyong” maneuvers were intended to demonstrate the “overwhelming» capacities of partner countries.
“The upcoming training will demonstrate the South Korea-U.S. alliance’s resolve to achieve “peace through strength.”“,” explained Lt. Gen. Kim Gye-hwan, commandant of the Marine Corps.
According to Yonhap, several dozen British marines are taking part in the drills for the first time, with Australian, French and Filipino servicemen watching.
Meanwhile, North Korea said on Monday it had tested a missile “fitted with a test warhead simulating a nuclear payload“over the weekend, demonstrating Pyongyang’s firepower and willingness to respond to any”reckless movementsby Washington and Seoul.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as saying that “only when the North is fully equipped in a nuclear attack posture can it carry out its important strategic mission of deterring war.”
Kim watched the missile launch on Sunday morning with her daughter Ju-ae.
The DPRK’s latest show of force was preceded by several more missile launches over the past week.
Pyongyang insists its increased military activity is just a response to ongoing military drills between the United States and South Korea, which the North sees as preparation for an attack.
Washington and Seoul, in turn, say the maneuvers are their response to destabilizing actions by the North, including a record number of missile launches in 2022.