South Korea and the United States on Wednesday kicked off an annual joint military exercise amid heightening tensions following the North's recent missile test and the death of its leader's half brother.
Foal Eagle, a field training exercise involving ground, air and naval forces, will run through the end of April. Seperately the allies plan to conduct Key Resolve, a computer-simulated command post exercise, starting March 13, the defense ministry said.
North Korea denounced the joint drills as a rehearsal for invasion.
The U.S. reportedly plans to send strategic assets such as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the F-35 aircraft, and the B-1B and B-52 bombers to the joint exercise. The Carl Vinson made a port call in Guam on Feb. 10 in what could be preparation to join the drill.
The two allies are likely to deploy major strategic assets to the drills to deliver a stern warning against the North's continued provocations.
On Feb. 12, Pyongyang test-fired a newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile Sunday morning in its first provocation since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)