S. Korea, U.S. to stage annual exercise from March 13-23
SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States plan to kick off a combined springtime military exercise later this month, the allies announced Friday, as they are striving to beef up deterrence against North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
The Freedom Shield (FS) exercise is scheduled to take place from March 13-23 without a break, marking the longest-ever edition of their joint computer-simulation command post exercise, according to the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).
It is to proceed with new concurrent large-scale field drills, called the "Warrior Shield," in line with the allies' push to reinforce training programs and enhance their "realism" in the face of growing North Korean threats.
Prior to the FS, the allies plan to conduct a four-day crisis management exercise.
The overall drills focuses on practicing steps to deter war and defuse tensions through a joint crisis management mechanism, as well as war execution procedures, according to Seoul officials.
Seoul's defense authorities have said that the allies are set to apply to the FS "realistic" training scenarios related to the North's "high-intensity" nuclear threats, including its hardening of rhetoric against Seoul and Washington.
Pyongyang has warned that Seoul and Washington would face "unprecedentedly" strong counteractions should they press ahead with this year's plans for combined drills, which it has decried as preparations for a war of aggression.
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