S. Korea, US consider live-fire drills amid N. Korea threats

TEHRAN, Dec. 22 (MNA) – South Korea and the United States are considering staging their first large-scale, joint live-fire drills in six years in 2023 as Seoul and Washington strengthen security coordination against North Korea.

The drills have been floated as South Korea and the United States discuss preparations for the 70th anniversary of their alliance next year, Seoul's defence ministry spokesperson Jeon Ha-gyu said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

"Marking that occasion, we are exploring various ways to showcase our military's presence and the alliance's overwhelming deterrence capabilities against North Korea," Jeon told a regular briefing.

"A combined joint live-fire demonstration can be one of the options."

The demonstration would be another joint display of force to be resumed following a years-long hiatus under new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who pledged to bolster military capabilities and readiness to deter North Korea's weapons development.

On Tuesday, the United States flew its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters for joint drills with South Korea for the first time since 2018, hours after North Korea criticized both countries and vowed more missile tests.

“The South and the US will further solidify the combined defense posture of the South Korea-US alliance regarding the North’s nuclear and missile threats by continuing to strengthen the alliance’s capabilities and posture, including the US’ extended deterrence,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

In September, the allies staged their first exercises with a US aircraft carrier since 2018.

North Korea has tested a number of missiles this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland. It has also completed preparations for what would be its first nuclear test since 2017, Seoul and Washington officials said.

News Code 195259


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