S.Korea, US set for largest ever live fire drills

Seoul, March 22 : South Korea and the US plan to conduct the "largest-ever" combined live-fire drills in June as part of a program to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their alliance, Seoul's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday. The Ministry unveiled the program designed to strengthen the allies' solidarity, demonstrate their militaries' technological edge and highlight their focus on "realising peace through strength via action", reports Yonhap News Agency. "We are planning to conduct various events, through which the South Korean and US militaries can show to the international community and North Korea what achievements we have made in the defence, military sector," a Ministry official told reporters. For the live-fire training set for June, the two sides will mobilise high-tech military equipment, including pieces integrating both manned and unmanned assets, to demonstrate the alliance's firepower and maneuverability. More than 10 such high-profile firepower demonstrations have taken place since 1977. They include both combined and South Korea-only drills. South Korea is also seeking to hold the Armed Forces Day ceremony with the participation of the US Forces Korea (USFK) in late September to demonstrate the alliance's "overwhelming" deterrence and response capabilities against North Korean threats, according to the ministry. In addition, Seoul and Washington are working to craft a future defence vision of the bilateral alliance to be announced at their annual defense ministerial talks, called the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), expected to take place in October. The South and the US signed their mutual defence treaty, a bedrock alliance document, in October 1953, after the Korean War ended in a truce three months earlier. Meanwhile, the veterans ministry plans to hold a series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the Korean War, officials said. Those include a major ceremony to be held on July 27 in Busan. /IANS


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