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Warmonger at the gates: S Korea, US launch war games near North

South Korea's K-2 tanks fire during a South Korea-US joint military drill at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, South Korea, on June 15, 2023. (Via AP)

South Korea and the United States have kicked off joint spring military drills, doubling the number of participating troops compared to last year.

The exercises, dubbed Freedom Shield, are being held on March 4-14.

The drills come as the two allies’ air forces also launched their annual, battalion-level Ssangmae exercises for a five-day run, Seoul’s defense ministry said Monday.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Freedom Shield will involve twice the number of troops from both sides compared with last year.

They will conduct 48 rounds of combined field training, including air assaults and air strikes.

American strategic assets such as an aircraft carrier and bombers could participate, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

The term “Strategic” is often used to describe nuclear forces.

The allies claim that the exercises are aimed at countering North Korea’s alleged nuclear and missile threats.

Pyongyang, however, says such military maneuvers amount to a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korea, which has been under harsh sanctions by the United States and the United Nations Security Council for years over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, launched an unprecedented number of missiles in 2022, including its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un has repeatedly said his government is building up its defensive military arsenal in preparation for war by the West that could “break out at any time” on the peninsula.

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