Updated: 08/18/2014 08:25 | By Agence France-Presse

S. Korea, US starts military drill despite North threats

South Korea and the United States on Monday launched an annual military drill, Seoul's defence ministry said, despite condemnation by North Korea which has threatened a "merciless" retaliatory strike.


S. Korea, US starts military drill despite North threats

South Korean Marines exit an amphibious assault vehicle during a joint landing operation by US and South Korean Marines in Pohang, South Korea on March 31, 2014 - by Jung Yeon-Je

The beginning of the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" exercise, which will last until August 29, came as Pope Francis led a mass for inter-reconciliation in Seoul at the end of the five-day trip to South Korea.

Although largely played out on computers, the drill involves tens of thousands of South Korean and US soldiers and is aimed at testing combat readiness for a North Korean invasion.

According to the South Korean Defence Ministry, this year's drill will, for the first time, simulate the response to a nuclear attack threat, using a strategy of "tailored" deterrence developed last year at annual South Korea-US defence talks.

North Korea has repeatedly called for the exercise to be cancelled, and last week its military joint chiefs of staff threatened to "mercilessly open the strongest... pre-emptive strike" if it goes ahead.

South Korean officials said its military would be on a heightened state of alert during the exercise.

"If the North commits a provocative act, we would retaliate strongly", a high-ranking military official told journalists.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。