(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. mulling massive live-fire drills next year to mark 70th year of alliance: ministry
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-5)
SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are considering staging their first large-scale combined live-fire demonstration in six years next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their alliance, Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday.
Such an exercise usually involves thousands of troops, as well as artillery pieces and other formidable weapons systems, to highlight the allies' combined firepower. It did not take place during the preceding Moon Jae-in administration keen on inter-Korean engagement.
"Next year, the allies mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance's founding and on that occasion, we are weighing various ways to show off our military's stature and the alliance's overwhelming deterrence capabilities against North Korea," Jeon Ha-gyu, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing. "A combined joint live-fire demonstration could be one of the options."
The allies previously held a large firepower demonstration at an Army training site in Pocheon, 41 kilometers northeast of Seoul, in April 2017.
The exercise involved the South's Apache helicopters, K2 battle tanks, F-15K fighters and multiple rocket launchers, as well as U.S.' Bradley fighting vehicles and an A-10 attack aircraft. Some 2,000 South Korean and U.S. troops also took part.
Seoul and Washington signed their mutual defense treaty in October 1953, months after the end of the three-year Korean War.
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