North Korea Sees Planned US-South Korea Wargames as 'Catastrophe'

22 Août, 2017, 08:07 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • SKorea looks to jumpstart diplomacy in NKorea standoff

The joint U.S. -South Korean drills last until August 31 and involve computer simulations created to prepare for war with a nuclear-capable North Korea.

Defense officials here pointed out that UFG is largely a war game, rather than a field exercise like Foal Eagle held in the spring. The exercise is the largest annual computerized command-and-control operation in the world.

Trump pledged to respond to any North Korea aggression with "fire and fury" last week, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated Trump's strong stance on Thursday, saying Washington is "prepared militarily" to respond, adding that although the U.S.is seeking a peaceful solution, it "has to be backed by a strong military outcome if North Korea chooses wrongly".

Some 480,000 officials from about 4,000 government agencies and public organizations will participate in the exercise.

The direct parties involved in the peninsula issue including North and South Korea, and the United States need to make more practical efforts to ease tension and confrontations.

The US and South Korea claim the exercises are defensive, but North Korea has said they are a practice run for a nuclear war against it.

Combative rhetoric between the nations spiked after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the U.S. within range, sparking an intense warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North.

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It comes as the USA and South Korea joined forces today to take part in an annual 10-day exercise, known as Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, involving tens of thousands of troops.

While the allies are pushing ahead with the exercises that date back to 1976, around 17,500 USA troops will participate in the drills - a cutback from a year ago. Last week, the leader vowed to respond to North Korean aggression with "fire and fury".

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis.

During this year's war games in March, North Korea launched four extended-range Scud missiles into the sea in what it described as a rehearsal for striking US military bases in Japan.

On the eve of the UFG drills, North Korea said the United States was "pouring gasoline on fire".

But it's the timing that is drawing attention, and comment from Pyongyang. However, the US and South Korea maintain they are purely defensive.

"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so".

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