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Military chief inspects on-going joint S. Korea-U.S. exercises

All Headlines 15:33 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military chief inspected on-going military exercises with the U.S. forces on Wednesday, ordering "all-out" defense readiness against possible North Korean provocations.

"In order to break out of the current situation, (North Korea) is highly likely to launch further unexpected provocations," Gen. Lee Sun-jin, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his visit to the Third Army earlier in the day.

"If the enemy provokes, hit back resolutely without hesitation," Lee was quoted by the JCS as instructing military personnel.

The four-star general also ordered troops to "maintain an all-out readiness posture" against possible military action by the North, according to the JCS.

On Monday, South Korea and the U.S. launched their annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises, involving 17,000 American troops and some 300,000 South Korean soldiers, that include personnel from the Third Army.

This year's exercises mobilized a record number of forces and military assets in order to step up the allies' combat readiness against North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats.

"These joint South Korea-U.S. exercises have continued for the past 40 years and are a testament to the resolve of safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the commander said.

The military chief's on-site inspection is intended to affirm South Korea's determination to fight back any North Korean military provocations, the JCS added.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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