News   /   Koreas

South Korea, US launch massive military exercise, amid North’s ire

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
South Korean soldiers take part in the annual so-called Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in the capital, Seoul, August 17, 2014. (© AFP)

Tens of thousands of troops from South Korea and the United States have launched a massive military exercise simulating a full-scale invasion by North Korea, which has denounced the joint drill as provocative.

The annual “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” maneuver started on Monday and will run through August 28 with the participation of 50,000 Korean and 30,000 US soldiers.

Seoul and Washington say the drill is purely defensive in nature. North Korea, however, is bitterly skeptical of the war games, and previously threatened the “strongest military counteraction” if the exercises were held this year.

“Such large-scale joint military exercises... are little short of a declaration of a war,” read a Thursday statement by the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

Tensions between the two Koreas are already running high. Earlier, Seoul blamed Pyongyang for mine explosions that maimed two South Korean border guards on August 4.

Last Monday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said investigations showed that North Korean soldiers had sneaked across the border to plant three landmines.

Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the incident.

The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric since the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul remain technically at war.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku