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S. Korea sends over 100 troops to U.S.-led Red Flag Alaska air exercise

Diplomacy 15:15 June 03, 2021

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea sent more than 100 Air Force officers and six fighter jets to Alaska for an annual U.S.-led multinational air exercise set to kick off next week, officials said Thursday.

The officers, as well as six F-15K aircraft, left for the Eielson Air Force Base on Wednesday to take part in the Red Flag-Alaska 21-2 exercise to be held there from June 10-25.

It is the first time for South Korea to join the exercise in three years, the officials said, adding they will join more than 1,000 service members and dozens of aircraft from multiple countries, including Japan.

It will also be the first major combined military drill among the South Korean, the U.S. and the Japanese forces under the Joe Biden administration. Washington has called for the improvement of security ties between Seoul and Tokyo to better deal with North Korea and China.

The exercise is expected to enable them to exchange "tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability with fellow airmen," the U.S. Seventh Air Force said earlier.

The Korean team is scheduled to return home on June 30.

Launched in 1975, the Red Flag-Alaska drill is designed to integrate various forces and provide them with training opportunities in a realistic threat environment, according to the U.S. military.

This photo, downloaded from the U.S. Seventh Air Force website, shows an F-35A Lightning II (L), assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, and an F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, flying over Denali National Park in Alaska, on Aug. 17, 2020, during the Red Flag-Alaska 20-3 Training. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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