Seoul and Washington conduct live-fire drills near North Korea border

SEOUL, January 4 (EFE) – South Korea and the United States military today conducted live-fire exercises near the North Korean border, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. This represents a new move that highlights military escalation on the Korean peninsula.

The exercise, involving infantry units, has been held since December 29 in Pocheon Town, 45 kilometers northeast of Seoul.

According to a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the exercise will last until January 5 and is designed to improve the interoperability of allies.

110 different South Korean and American weapon systems participated in the exercise, including K1A2 tanks, armored vehicles such as K-600, A-10 fighter jets or artillery systems.

Just today, North Korean media harshly criticized the drills, with state news agency KCNA describing the drills in Pocheon as an act of “self-destruction” and the South Korean navy conducted some live-fire drills on Wednesday.

Ri Sung-jun, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference today that the North Korean military has been conducting traditional winter exercises since the end of the year.

These North Korean drills typically last into the spring and often involve artillery drills.

Just in time for the end of the year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said there was no longer any possibility of reconciliation or reunification with South Korea and that his regime would continue to strengthen its atomic and missile programs while South Korea continued to strengthen its nuclear and missile programs. In his New Year’s address, South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol stressed that Seoul and Washington would update their deterrence strategies this year, which now includes a nuclear option.

After denuclearization talks with Washington failed in 2019, Pyongyang approved a weapons modernization plan that included deploying military satellites and conducted numerous missile tests, while refusing to restart dialogue and seeking a greater rapprochement with Beijing and Moscow. .

At the same time, Seoul and Washington have stepped up military cooperation with Tokyo and strengthened deterrence mechanisms by increasing joint exercises and increasing the deployment of U.S. strategic assets on the peninsula.

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