S. Korea to resume field training with US, N. Korea responds
South Korea's Defense Ministry says Seoul and Washington plan to conduct 11 joint field exercises including one at brigade-level this summer.
Seoul's Defense Ministry announced on Friday that South Korea and the United States will resume long-suspended live field training during their joint military drills.
This comes as the two are set to start their annual summertime exercises next month, following South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol's pledge to "normalize" joint drills and enhance deterrence against North Korea.
According to South Korea's Defense Ministry, Seoul and Washington plan to conduct 11 joint field exercises including one at brigade-level this summer, adding that both sides aim to hold more joint field exercises of regiment-level or higher.
South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup told reporters, "We plan to stage combined air carrier strike group training and drills for amphibious operations at an early date, among others."
The two sides had reduced their combined military drills in recent years in an attempt to lower tensions with North Korea and due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At "any time"
It is noteworthy that Pyongyang has conducted numerous missile tests this year and is reportedly preparing for its seventh nuclear test since 2017.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, believed Friday that North Korea could go ahead with the test at "any time".
"We believe that not only at the end of this month, but ever since my inauguration, it's fully ready and able to do it whenever it decides," he told reporters
The South Korean Defense Ministry said it would improve missile detection capabilities and push for an early deployment of a new interceptor system in order to better counter North Korea's missile "threats".
Yoon's Spokesperson Kang In-sun said the President instructed the Defense Ministry to put the utmost effort into strengthening the country's missile defense system.
US & South Korea will face “unprecedented” security challenges
In response, North Korea warned that the US and South Korea will face “unprecedented” security challenges in case they continue their hostile military pressure campaign against Pyongyang, including joint military drills.
“Should the U.S. and its allies opt for military confrontation with us, they would be faced with unprecedented instability security-wise,” the Associated Press Television News quoted Choe Jin, deputy director general of the Institute of Disarmament and Peace, a Foreign Ministry-run think tank, as saying on Thursday.
Choe considered that South Korea and US joint military drills this year are driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war, accusing the officials from both sides of plotting to discuss the deployment of US nuclear strategic assets during another joint drill next month.
“The U.S. should keep in mind that it will be treated on a footing of equality when it threatens us with nukes,” Choe stressed, calling on Washington to abandon “its anachronistic and suicidal policy of hostility” toward North Korea or it will face “an undesirable consequence.”