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(LEAD) S. Korean, U.S. marines conduct joint winter drill

All Headlines 16:27 December 19, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with Marine Corps commander's comments in last 2 paras; ADDS photos)

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- Hundreds of South Korean and U.S. marines have teamed up for a winter training in the eastern mountainous region of PyeongChang, South Korea's Marine Corps said Tuesday.

The three-week exercise began Dec. 4 at the Mount Hwangbyeong training camp as part of the Korea Marine Exercise Program.

It involves more than 220 South Korean Marines and some 220 U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The two sides have staged such a combined winter drill since 2013, aiming to sharpen their combat skills in subfreezing temperatures.

South Korean and U.S. marines train at a snow-covered mountain training site in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Dec. 19, 2017. (Yonhap)

"This exercise has been held with a focus on enhancing the combined combat capabilities of the South Korean and U.S. Marine Corps in winter war conditions under which temperatures drop down to about minus 20 C," the unit said.

South Korea's Marines have also staged a training to support security measures for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, which will open in the town in February.

South Korean Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo visited the training site.

"You are a symbol of the robust South Korea-U.S. alliance, overcoming the severe cold with comradeship," he told the troops. "Let's defend the Republic of Korea (South Korea) firmly on the basis of hot comradeship and strong combat power of the allies' Marine Corps."

The shirtless marines of South Korea and the U.S. train together in snow on Dec. 19, 2017. (Yonhap)


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