US, South Korea launch anti-DPRK nuclear drill over alleged threat
South Korea joins hands with its ally, the US, to conduct a simulated exercise aimed at warning the DPRK to halt nuclear testing.
The US and South Korean Air Forces participated in a joint "table-top" exercise focused on the possibility that the DPRK might be using a nuclear weapon, said the Pentagon on Thursday.
Last year, North Korea launched several missiles including intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can reach the US mainland, as per US claims. On February 20, the DPRK launched two missiles into the Pacific Ocean, an activity warned to be a test of a nuclear device by US and South Korean officials.
Yesterday, DRPK fired four strategic cruise missiles into the sea, official television reported, adding that the exercise "demonstrated once again Pyongyang's nuclear fighting force's war posture."
Since the US and South Korea decided to hold the drills, this marks the 8th deterrence strategy committee exercise called DSC TTX.
Officials from both countries visited Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia after the exercise took place at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
"Given the DPRK's recent aggressive nuclear policy and advancements in nuclear capabilities, the (tabletop) scenario focused on the possibility of the DPRK's use of nuclear weapons," a Pentagon statement said.
Read more: DPRK vows 'toughest reaction' to US militarization of peninsula
The statement further claimed that the delegations between the US and South Korea focused their alliance deterrence on maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. As such, the allies reaffirmed their readiness to face any DPRK nuclear threats, with plans to share intelligence and participate in crisis consultation and execution of extended deterrence.
"The U.S. side stressed that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea against the United States or its allies and friends would be unacceptable and result in the end of its regime," the South Korean Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
"The delegations discussed how best to leverage (South Korea's) non-nuclear capabilities to support nuclear deterrence against DPRK nuclear threats," the statement added.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed confidence in his ally's capabilities and nuclear forces, claiming that the DPRK strives to secure the ability to strike the United States. Lastly, Yoon warned in November of a joint response with his allies if the DPRK proceeded with a nuclear test.
As South Korea weaves closer ties with the US, DPRK's leader declared last year that his country is an "irreversible" nuclear power, conducting weapon tests nearly every month, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
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