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Seoul, Washington roll out joint landing drill

All Headlines 12:40 March 12, 2016

SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States on Saturday staged a massive landing drill in an eastern coastal port city, the largest of its kind, amid continued provocations from Pyongyang.

The latest exercise mobilized 17,200 soldiers, including around 12,200 U.S. Marine and Navy troops in Pohang for the exercise, South Korea's Marine Corps said.

Sources said the drill mobilized key U.S. vessels including the USS Bonhomme Richard and amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland.

The drill also focused on destroying major enemy installations through special troops including the elite Underwater Demolition Team.

Australia and New Zealand also participated in the drill. The two countries are among the 17 nations that are currently stationing military forces under the flag of the United Nations Command, which fought for South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War.

This marks the largest contingent of soldiers that Australia has ever sent to the landing exercise being staged in the eastern coastal port city of Pohang. And it is the first time that New Zealand has dispatched troops to the drill.

Tensions have been escalating on the Korean peninsula as North Korea conducted what it claimed to be the successful test of an H-bomb on Jan. 6.

Last month, the North also launched a rocket carrying the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite, which was viewed by many as a cover for testing its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

colin@yna.co.kr
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